Kaneohe man choked by civilian, dies in police custody

Published  5:57 PM HST Jul 24, 2013
Stephen Dinnan
HONOLULU -

The Honolulu Medical Examiner's final report is out with new details of the way a Kaneohe man died after being arrested by police in Waimanalo.

On June 3, at 5:16 p.m., one HPD officer and one civilian arrived at a Waimanalo home in search of a stolen car. That's when they found Stephen Dinnan making a run for it. Twenty minutes later, Dinnan was lying unconscious on the ground.

"The police officer did not follow protocol, he allowed a civilian who he brought to the crime scene, and allowed that civilian to assault Mr. Dinnan," says Myles Breiner, attorney for Dinnan's family.

What happened in between that time is now revealed. The Honolulu Medical Examiner says it was the owner of the stolen car who caught Dinnan and put him in a choke hold.

"I know of no protocols that allow an officer once someone has been subdued and are in a prone position handcuffed, to be assaulted either by the officer or civilian, or a civilian with the officer observing," says Breiner.

The choke hold was later released and Dinnan is said to have been talking and conscious at that time. Then at 5:36 p.m., Dinnan stopped moving after being handcuffed while held down. But the report doesn't clarify who was restraining the 35-year-old.

"Certainly the officer was involved with the handcuffing and subduing of Mr. Dinnan to the ground but the question is who is responsible for the compression of his chest," says Breiner.

Dinnan died from a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by restraint to his chest while in the prone position. The examiners also found 35 contusions or abrasions as well as fractured ribs and an injury to the Kaneohe man's neck.

There were no drugs found in his system.

"Mr. Dinnan was not responsible for his own death," says Breiner.

Last week the Medical Examiner ruled this a homicide.

A lot of questions still remain in this case. HPD says its still investigating. Myles Breiner says the FBI is conducting its own investigation.

The arresting officer was initially placed on leave but later returned to full duty. Last week after the Medical Examiner released a homicide report, he was placed back behind the desk.

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