- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - The Honolulu City Council has agreed to pay $37,500 to a man who said his finger was broken by a police officer as he made a video recording of an arrest.

The council also approved a $22,500 settlement Wednesday for a man who said he was held for an unreasonable time after his arrest.

The awards bring to 12 the number of police lawsuits settled in 2014. The city has paid out $2.6 million, the Honolulu Star Advertiser (https://bit.ly/ZqxjQa) reported.

Most were from two cases. Honolulu approved a $1.4 million payment to the family of Aaron Torres, who was suffocated as police restrained him. The city and county paid $950,000 to a woman struck by a subsidized police vehicle.

The larger settlement last week was directed at a 22-year veteran in the Traffic Division. According to the lawsuit, the police corporal was escorting a handcuffed man and carrying a stun gun when he walked past Randy Salazar Jr., who was recording the arrest with an iPhone in Halawa.

The officer without warning used the stun gun to hit Salazar’s hand. The officer testified that something had come toward his head, and he put his hand up to shield himself.

Tracy Fukui, Salazar’s attorney, said the officer could have been charged with felony assault. The damages cover a $7,000 medical bill and pain and suffering for the military veteran who served in Afghanistan, she said. Salazar could have sought punitive damages, she said.

“He was just taken aback by the way he was treated,” she said. “All he was doing was videotaping.”

A police spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

In the other settlement, John Ilae said he was held for an extended time illegally after an arrest during an assault investigation. His lawsuit said he was held for nearly 38 hours in June 2010.

Attorney Eric Seitz said police have up to 48 hours to charge a person but can’t use the time to build a case. Seitz said police continue to deliberately hold people without charges as a tactic to produce confessions or statements.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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