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Lawsuit: Big Isle police used stun gun on wrong man

Hawaii County police officers realized they arrested the wrong person after shooting him with a stun gun and assaulting him, a federal lawsuit alleges.

Daniel Harris was visiting his mother at her Hilo home when officers arrived with an arrest warrant in 2015, said the lawsuit filed Friday by attorneys representing Harris and his family.

“The officers rushed into the house and shot Harris with a Taser and assaulted him and stomped on this face,” the lawsuit said. The officers then dragged him down the stairs and into the backseat of a police car, the lawsuit said.

Harris defecated on himself when he was shot by the Taser, the lawsuit said.

He was treated and cleaned at a hospital and then taken to a police station for booking. It was during the booking process that officers realized they arrested the wrong Daniel Harris, the lawsuit said: “The Daniel Harris they were supposed to arrest was older and did not look like him.”

But instead of apologizing and releasing him, the lawsuit alleges the officers falsely charged him with drunken driving and other charges. All the charges were later dropped.

After his wife bailed him out, Harris went to the police commissioner’s officer to file a misconduct complaint. “However, the police commissioner’s officer told him that he should really think about it before making such a report, implying that filing such a complaint would be a mistake and could result in retaliation,” the lawsuit said. He changed his mind about lodging a complaint.

A police spokesman said today the department can’t comment because it hasn’t had an opportunity to review the lawsuit.

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