Hawaii News Suit filed by 2 men accusing 8 officers is settled By Gordon Y.K. Pang July 29, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! BRUCE ASATO / 2013Johnny Helm says in a federal lawsuit that he and a friend were assaulted by police officers when they were mistaken for armed robbers. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. A federal lawsuit alleging that eight Honolulu police officers assaulted and arrested two hikers, including a Waikiki entertainer, they had mistaken for suspects in an armed robbery has been tentatively settled out of court. The settlement, made public in U.S. District Court filings Tuesday, must still be approved by the Honolulu City Council. The amount of taxpayer money being proposed to settle the lawsuit was not disclosed. John W. Helm III, a Waikiki entertainer who goes by Johnny Helm, said he and Jonah Wellins, a friend visiting from the mainland, went hiking on Lanipo Trail, beginning at Wilhelmina Rise, on Feb. 29, 2012. While on the summit, according to the lawsuit, they saw a police helicopter whose pilot was talking to them unintelligibly from a loudspeaker before he gestured for them to go down the trail. On the way down, the lawsuit said, the two hikers said they were “accosted by approximately eight heavily armed men dressed in combat gear” whom the hikers identified as HPD officers. At least two of the officers, whom the lawsuit identified as Nalei Sooto and Randall Rivera, “attacked … Helm while he was down on the ground, violently shoving his body into the ground and slamming his face and head onto the ground and/or rocks so viciously that he lost consciousness immediately thereafter.” Helm, a three-time Na Hoku Hanohano nominee, according to his website, later learned he sustained a concussion and multiple facial fractures that required surgery, as well as stitches to his eye and other cuts to his face, the lawsuit said. Meanwhile, others officers, including one identified as Patrick Sung, attacked Wellins while he was on the ground, “slamming his body and face onto the ground and causing pain to his chest and head along with bloody facial lacerations,” the lawsuit said. Helm and Wellins said they were then handcuffed and, while at gunpoint, forced down “a steeper and more difficult trail” into Palolo Valley that required them to use a rope, the lawsuit said. During the incident, the officers threatened the two men and claimed they were armed robbers who had been identified by witnesses. They were then taken in separate patrol cars and were headed toward the main police station on Alapai and Beretania streets, the lawsuit said. But when they were nearly at the station, police took them back to Palolo “without any explanation.” They were then released because they did not match the description of the armed robbers, the lawsuit said. The two men made their own way to a hospital for treatment, according to the suit. The Honolulu Police Commission found that all eight police officers were guilty of conduct unbecoming officers, while Sooto and Sung were also found to have used unnecessary and excessive force. But none of the officers were disciplined or retrained, the lawsuit said. The five other named officers in the lawsuit are Calvin Domingo, Keoki Duarte, Ross Furuhashi, Christopher Goshi and Tyler Maalo. An HPD spokeswoman confirmed that “no disciplinary action was taken for this incident” against any officers. All eight are still active police officers, the spokeswoman said. Myles Breiner, attorney for Helm and Wellins, did not return calls or emails Tuesday. Deputy Corporation Counsel Curtis Sherwood, who is representing the eight officers, Police Chief Louis Kealoha and the city, declined to comment. Previous Story A tropical cyclone may reach the isles in a few days Next Story Enter the Endless Summer Photo Contest!