"The next thing you know, I had my head smashed into the ground so hard that I remember the impact vividly," said John Helm.
A year and a half later, Helm said not a day's gone by when he hasn't thought about what happened the afternoon he and his friend Jonah Wellin went hiking up Wilhelmina Rise.
"Looking at these pictures, it just brings back the anger and the frustration," he said, looking at pictures of his injuries after the incident on Feb. 29, 2012.
"I saw a New York Yankees cap come over ridge, then another guy, and another guy, and a semiautomatic, pointed it at me, and they said 'Get the f*** down,'" he said.
"Not only did they brutally beat him up and falsely arrest him, but then they propagated a series of lies," said Helm's attorney, Myles Breiner, who filed a lawsuit late Wednesday afternoon.
Breiner said officers mistook the two for suspected burglars, then later claimed Helm and Wellin fell and injured themselves. He said some of the officers already have records for using excessive force.
"No one has been disciplined. No one has been removed from duty -- just the opposite. They're still out there with carte blanche to arrest people and do exactly what they've done today," he said.
"I've just had to bury this thing every single night while I play," said Helm, the irony being that he's a musician and said he plays to show others the beauty of the islands -- a performance dampened by an experience he can't forget.
"We need police officers. They have a hard job, but this was wrong," he said.
Representatives for the Honolulu Police Department and the Police Commission had no comment on the case.
HPD said no arrests have been made in the burglary case.