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ME: Man who arrived with police choked detainee

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:36 p.m. HST, Jul 24, 2013

A man who died last month after he was in Honolulu police custody was put into a chokehold by the person accusing him of stealing a vehicle, according to a Medical Examiner’s report.

Stephen Dinnan, 35, was running away from police June 3 when the man reporting an auto theft stopped him and put him in a chokehold, the report said. The auto theft complainant and the officer arrived at the Waimanalo home together. The man released the chokehold after the officer told him to, and Dinnan was still conscious.

Dinnan became unresponsive after he was handcuffed while prone, said the autopsy report by Dr. Kanthis De Alwis. He was taken off life support after he was pronounced brain dead the next day.

De Alwis ruled it a homicide with a cause of death listed as asphyxia due to compression during prone restraint.

Police said at the time that Dinnan fled when officers arrived at the Waimanalo home to locate a stolen vehicle, and he fought off attempts to detain him. Dinnan became unresponsive shortly after he was brought under control, police said.

Police are conducting an internal investigation. The officer involved, a 26-year veteran of the force, was placed on administrative leave. He was later returned to active patrol duty, but after the autopsy report was released, he was re-assigned to desk duties, a police spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“He brought the civilian there,” said Myles Breiner, an attorney representing Dinnan’s girlfriend, Shardeh Serhant, the mother of their two children. The family is claiming excessive force and police misconduct. “This officer, in my opinion, violated proper protocol.”

Police declined to comment.

Serhant’s previous attorney has said Dinnan wasn’t involved with any stolen vehicle and wasn’t running from police.

Breiner said he asked the FBI to investigate because he doesn’t believe Honolulu police will conduct an impartial investigation. The FBI won’t confirm whether there is such an investigation.

Breiner said he’s not yet exploring a lawsuit. “I just want a proper investigation by an independent agency,” he said.

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Rickyboy wrote:
Vigilante justice condoned by HPD. Taxpayers are going to pay.
on July 24,2013 | 05:15PM
lynnh wrote:
So who is this mystery person that the police said nothing about? Who is this person that the police is trying to pass blame to so as not to soil the department? This speaks so loudly of coverup it is sickening. The FBI should and better be involved... period.
on July 24,2013 | 05:26PM
8082062424 wrote:
word is he is a fireman with the city.
on July 24,2013 | 08:19PM
Popo3620 wrote:
Cover up what? The investigation is not played out in the newspaper.. C'mon think about it.
on July 25,2013 | 12:27AM
Anonymous wrote:
If the by stander applied the choke hold then he probably commited manslaughter and should be charged.
on July 24,2013 | 06:35PM
Skyler wrote:
Sounds like manslaughter to me.
on July 24,2013 | 08:02PM
Skyler wrote:
edit: by the 'bystander' - the angry one.
on July 24,2013 | 08:03PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Looks like HPD and the taxpayers are going to support the guy's family for life, and in good style.
on July 25,2013 | 05:55AM
bigislandkurt wrote:
True, but in all honesty, the man left two young ones with no father.
on July 25,2013 | 06:59AM
nitpikker wrote:
true, but he may have raised 2 more criminals.
on July 25,2013 | 07:09AM
anerac wrote:
Some of you here have a lot to say after reading the paper. Why not check the facts before speaking. I am sure your story has changed several ties just like the article. BREINER acts like he gives a crap about the family, if this was true he would have put a suit on the police already. He is playing his games like he always does. Ask to see what he gets paid when it is over. I know when I help someone I dont expect to make money in the end, it is beacuse I want to help. It is all smoke and mirriors and he wants to put on a show. This is sick
on July 25,2013 | 07:05AM
Imua45 wrote:
Lesson here, no steal car.
on July 25,2013 | 07:08AM
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