The Honolulu Medical Examiner said there "are no assaultive-type injuries" found on the body of a 35-year-old Hauula man who died after he was arrested in Waimanalo.
An autopsy performed today on Stephen Dinnan did not determine a cause of death pending further studies and investigation, according to a news release from the Department of the Medical Examiner.
Dinnan was taken in critical condition to the hospital Monday after he resisted attempts to detain him, police said. He died Tuesday after being taken off life support.
"He was pretty much beat up," said his family’s attorney, William Harrison. "It would appear to me way too much force was used. He was not involved with any stolen vehicle."
Police said in a statement that Dinnan fled when officers arrived at a 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.
Harrison said Dinnan was outside carrying one of his children when officers arrived at the home he shared with others, and he put the child in his car.
"He wanted to get the child out of harm’s way," Harrison said. "He was not trying to flee from the officers."
Harrison said an officer choked Dinnan unconscious and Dinnan’s back, neck and arms were covered in bruises.
Police said there was an effort to resuscitate Dinnan, but Harrison disputed that, saying officers were incredulous when someone said Dinnan wasn’t breathing. Another officer arrived and called an ambulance, Harrison said.
Police said a 26-year veteran of the force has been placed on administrative leave and the department has opened an internal investigation. A police spokeswoman declined to comment further.
The Medical Examiner’s finding is confusing, Harrison said.
"I don’t understand why they volunteered that information," he said. "If they’re saying Stephen wasn’t assaulted, that runs afoul of the type of injuries and bruises he sustained."
Harrison said claiming no assaultive-type injuries were found isn’t surprising from a Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office anticipating legal action.