Woman dies in police custody, family wants answers

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The family of a woman who died after being arrested by police is looking for answers. Police restrained the woman after responding to an assault call and she died the next day.

Because the woman died in police custody, an internal administrative investigation has begun. So officials are not releasing much including how the woman was retrained. Based on the woman’s injuries, the family believes excessive force was used.

Family members say the woman is 49-year-old Sherianne Nixon. Wayne Kaahanui and Nixon have a child together. He says her injuries and the information he’s been able to gather raise some unsettling questions. 

“The whole family is concerned,” said Kaahanui, “she went under and she went into a coma and then she died.”

Police say they responded to a home in Wahiawa where Nixon assaulted her friend and damaged property. The two officers requested an ambulance because she appeared to be acting erratically. According to police, the woman refused to leave so the officers restrained her and escorted her out. Then she became unresponsive and later died. 

We asked officials if physical force was used and a spokeswoman tells us that’s all part of the investigation. HPD tells us the two officers who responded to the scene are currently on full duty. When we asked about body camera footage, the spokeswoman tells us District 2 does not have body cameras yet.”

Kaahanui says doctors told him Nixon had drugs in her system, but he says that does not justify her dying in police custody. 

“She was a small woman,” he said. “She was one lady, why do you have to go that far?”

We also reached out to the woman who Nixon allegedly attacked. She did not want to go on camera but says she did not witness anything because when she managed to escape she ran to her neighbor for help.

The medical examiner is not releasing any information on this case at this time. Nixon’s family says they will be hiring an attorney. 
 

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