Maui News

Excessive Force Lawsuit Against Maui Officers Dismissed

March 25, 2014, 7:18 AM HST
* Updated March 25, 10:23 AM
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Officer Jun Hattori (top), Sergeant Harry Matsuura (middle), and Erik Losvar (bottom). File photos/graphics by Wendy Osher.

Officer Jun Hattori (top), Sergeant Harry Matsuura (middle), and Erik Losvar (bottom). File photos of Hattori and Losvar/graphics by Wendy Osher. Matsuura file photo courtesy MPD.

By Wendy Osher

A lawsuit against the county alleging excessive force by officers was dismissed on Friday by a federal judge, county officials announced.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs — Joshua Nakagawa and Anthony Lum John — alleged that officers used excessive force in a July 2010 incident near Punalau Beach, in an area also known as “Windmills.”

County officials say Sergeants  Russell Kapahulehua and Sergeant Harry Matsuura, Jr., and officers Jun Hattori and Erik Losvar were responding to a call of shots fired when the incident occurred.

Plaintiffs stipulated to the dismissal of all claims against Sergeant Matsuura, according to county officials.

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According to information released by the county, Sergeant Kapahulehua attempted to stop a truck that was approaching officers, when the vehicle “suddenly accelerated and swerved” towards Officer Losvar and Sergeant Matsuura.

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The truck ended up striking Losvar and “launching him into the air and over the hood of the truck,” before continuing toward  Sergeant Matsuura, county officials said.

According to information released by the county, the officers fired at the driver as the truck continued toward the sergeant on scene, but ended up striking the plaintiffs, who were in the truck bed.

Nakagawa sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder and Lum John was struck in the hip, county officials said. The driver, Austin Pierman, was charged with two counts of attempted murder, according to a county press release.

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Judge Derrick Watson granted a summary judgment in favor of the county saying the officers’ use of force was reasonable based on the circumstances, the press release said.

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