Honolulu police officer Scott J. Valdez pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges stemming from a confrontation with a motorist on the H-1 freeway in March.
Valdez, 43, an 11-year department veteran, is accused of unlawfully entering a motor vehicle and damaging it, according to court documents.
The charges stem from a March 27 incident while Valdez was on duty as a solo bike officer. Before the confrontation, he was responding to a vehicle accident on Pali Highway.
The motorist said he stuck his hand out of his car window and made a gesture after Valdez, on his motorcycle, nearly struck his vehicle. He said Valdez signaled him to pull over, then reached into the vehicle and pushed him twice in the chest.
He said Valdez also took a BB gun out of the vehicle and used it to damage the trunk of the car. He said Valdez damaged the door of the vehicle when he opened it to remove the BB gun.
Valdez told investigators he stopped the motorist because the vehicle’s rear license plate was obstructed by a dark cover and the window tint appeared darker than what law allows.
When he told the motorist to pull over, he said the driver showed him his middle finger and complained about being pulled over. After the car moved to the right shoulder, Valdez said, the motorist continued to complain, waving his left hand, which required him to block the hand from hitting his face.
Valdez issued the motorist a number of citations.
After a trial on April 26, a Honolulu district judge found the motorist guilty of having an obstructed rear license plate and no front license plate, having an expired safety inspection and illegal window tinting. The judge found the motorist not guilty of having an illegible driver’s license.