WAILUKU – On Friday, March 21, 2014, Federal Judge Derrick K. Watson granted summary judgment to the County of Maui, Sergeant Russell Kapahulehua, Officer Jun Hattori and Officer Erik Losvar in a lawsuit filed by Joshua Nakagawa and Anthony Lum John. On the same day, Plaintiffs stipulated to the dismissal of all claims against Sergeant Harry Matsuura, Jr. This ruling ends the lawsuit in favor of the officers and the County.
The lawsuit alleged that the officers used excessive force in an incident that occurred on July 18, 2010 near the beach area known as “Windmills.” At approximately 4:00 a.m. on July 18, 2010, the Maui Police Department received a call that shots had been fired at Windmills. Officers responded to that call and stopped a vehicle to question the occupants.
Shortly thereafter, a truck approached the officers. Plaintiffs were passengers in the truck bed. Sergeant Kapahulehua attempted to stop the truck, which suddenly accelerated and swerved towards Officer Losvar and Sergeant Matsuura. The truck struck Officer Losvar, launching him into the air and over the hood of the truck.
As the truck continued toward Sergeant Matsuura, the officers fired at the driver in an attempt to stop him. Plaintiffs, whose presence was unknown to the officers, were struck. Plaintiff Nakagawa was struck in the shoulder. Plaintiff Lum John was struck in the hip. The truck was operated by Austin Pierman, who was charged with two counts of attempted murder.
The Court found that the officers’ use of force was reasonable based on the circumstances. Therefore, the officers and the County of Maui prevailed on all claims.
Plaintiff Nakagawa was represented by Michael Green and William Shipley. Plaintiff Lum John was represented by Hayden Aluli.
The County and the officers were represented by Moana Lutey and Richard B. Rost.