Video of police beating is replayed

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An Oahu grand jury could take up the case of a Honolulu police officer repeatedly beating a man with his baton – an act on tape, the prosecutor’s office said.

Deputy prosecutors initially refused to press charges against the officer, Ming Wang, a 10-year veteran of the department.

But prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro ordered his staff to investigate the case further. Spokesman Dave Koga said this could include taking the case to a grand jury.

The video was shot on September 11, 2014 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration volunteers Barbara and Robert Billand, who had posted warning signs to keep people away from a monk seal on a beach in Nanakuli.

They told police Jamie Kalani Rice, 41, ignored the signs and was harassing the endangered animal.

The Billands recorded the video and submitted it to help prosecute Rice. In recent weeks, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser has received a copy of the video, which shows Rice kneeling beside the seal.

He then shows Officer Wang approaching Rice and pulling out his baton and pepper spray. Wang follows Rice as Rice walks away, shoots her with pepper spray, and hits Rice several times with the stick until Rice falls to the ground.

“The officer did what he had to do,” said Barbara Billand. “The guy was a big man and the officer was alone. The guy wasn’t listening. We didn’t know what he was going to do.

Wang arrested Rice for allegedly harassing a monk seal and resisting arrest, but prosecutors only charged Rice with harassing the seal. A grand jury later indicted Rice, a Class C felony carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Wang said in his police report that Rice refused his orders to walk away from the seal. When Rice started to walk away, he said, he told Rice he was under arrest and ordered him to stop at least six times, but that Rice kept walking. .

He said he had shot pepper spray twice in Rice’s face, but it had no effect. He said he then hit Rice five times in the right thigh with his baton after Rice ignored his order to get down.

Wang said he fired pepper spray twice more in Rice’s face and hit her four times in the left thigh and once more in the right thigh. He said he stopped hitting Rice after she found herself face down on the ground.

He said he then pushed his boot into the left side of Rice’s body to make sure he was no longer resisting.

Wang requested an ambulance to treat Rice for exposure to pepper spray. A city emergency medical technician treated Rice at the scene.

Another officer transported Rice to the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, where Rice refused to seek treatment for her hand injuries.

Police took Rice to the Honolulu Police Department’s Kapolei Station, where they determined he was not under the influence of alcohol. Rice waived her right to an attorney and gave a statement to the police.

While still in police custody, he also signed a discharge from prosecution for the injuries he sustained during his arrest. Police then transported Rice to Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu in Ewa Beach, where he was treated for broken bones in his right hand.

The HPD said it has opened administrative and criminal investigations into the assaults against Wang and, as standard procedure for incidents involving officers, has referred the criminal investigation to prosecutors for review. HPD also reassigned Wang to clerical duties while the investigations were ongoing.

The ministry said it has completed its administrative investigation but cannot comment on it because these investigations are confidential unless they result in the dismissal of an employee.

The prosecutor’s office refused to prosecute Wang in June. The deputy who reviewed the case said he recommended against prosecuting Wang because the video did not capture everything Wang and Rice were saying to each other and Rice signed a waiver of prosecution.

Wang is on patrol but is no longer assigned to Leeward Oahu, according to HPD.

Wang, 44, pleaded guilty in 2009 to assault and harassment for petty crimes. A state judge granted his request to postpone his guilty pleas and, after a year, dismissed the charges. He was originally charged with the offense of domestic violence instead of assault. The shift from domestic violence to assault allowed Wang to keep his job as a police officer and possess guns.

Rice, meanwhile, was unable to post $ 15,000 bail to be released from custody while his criminal case was pending. While in detention, the court ordered him to undergo two mental exams and sent him to Hawaii State Hospital for three months for mental health treatment.

He accepted a lesser charge last month in a plea deal with the prosecutor. In return for his clear plea for obstructing a government operation, a misdemeanor, the prosecutor promised to recommend a sentence equal to the time he had previously spent in detention.

Rice’s attorney, Iokona Baker, has asked acting circuit judge Paul BK Wong to impose a five-day jail sentence.

Before Wong accepted the plea, he asked Rice a litany of standard questions to see if he understood all the legal ramifications of waiving a lawsuit and if he had made the choice freely.

Rice told Wong that his mind was clear and that he was taking medication to treat his paranoid schizophrenia.

He said he believed the seal was sick and never meant to hurt or malice it or anyone else.

Rice told police he chanted and shared his mana, or energy, by rubbing sand on himself and throwing it in the air, to heal the seal.

“Mr. Rice is very familiar with this particular seal,” Baker said. “He is from the area. Mr. Rice is of Hawaiian descent.

Rice repeatedly told Wong that the reason he accepted the plea deal was to get out of prison as soon as possible.

“I’m done with prison, I’m sick of it. I’m just watching this time served. That’s all I’m looking at, judge. I’m tired, I love to come home, ”Rice said.

He has two previous convictions for possession of marijuana for petty crimes.

Wong accepted Rice’s plea, sentenced him to five days in prison, and credited him with having already served his sentence.

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