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Ex-HPD officer pleads no contest in road rage assault

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Former Honolulu police officer Keoki Duarte pleaded no contest in state court today to assault and other charges in connection with an apparent road rage incident with a truck driver while Duarte was off duty.

Duarte pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and felony charges of unlawfully entering a motor vehicle and attempting to unlawfully enter a motor vehicle. He faces up to a year in jail for the assault and five years for each of the other charges at sentencing in June. He is hoping the court will instead grant him a deferral of his pleas to give him the opportunity to avoid conviction and have the charges dismissed.

The truck driver said he accidentally hit Duarte’s car when he changed lanes on Farrington highway near the Kahe Power Plant in December 2015. After he pulled over, the driver said, Duarte shouted and swore at him and punched him through the truck’s passenger window. He said Duarte then opened the driver door, grabbed him, threw him to the ground, punched and kicked him then choked him until he began to black out.

The driver said he didn’t know Duarte was a police officer until on-duty officers arrived.

The Honolulu Police Department placed Duarte on restricted duty following his arrest, then fired him last October.

Duarte had eight years of service as a Honolulu police officer.

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