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Authorities identify Kaneohe man who died in police custody

A 28-year-old Kaneohe man who died while in Honolulu police custody has been identified by the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office as Isaiah Pama.

The office said today that there was no information to release on Pama’s cause of death.

Police have launched an investigation into the death of Pama who became unresponsive after being handcuffed and having his ankles shackled.

A patrol officer responded to a report of an argument at Ka Hanahou Circle at about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The arriving officer observed Pama arguing with a 43-year-old bystander and lying in a truck that did not belong to him, police said.

“The male was combative and punching and kicking the truck’s interior before he slid out of the vehicle and began struggling with the officer and the bystander,” said police spokeswoman Michelle Yu in a statement. “A second officer arrived and the male was handcuffed. The male continued to struggle, and a third officer placed leg shackles on the male and called for an ambulance.”

Pama was seated on the ground and leaning against one of the vehicles when he became unresponsive. Officers and the bystander administered first aid until paramedics arrived and continued treatment, Yu said.

Pama died at the scene.

In addition to the investigation, police have launched an administrative investigation — as is standard procedure — involving the three officers. The officers have seven, eight and 29 years of service, respectively, with the Police Department.

The death comes amid heightened tensions nationwide regarding police treatment of suspects.

George Floyd died May 25 after being held under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer for more than eight minutes.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers at the scene were accused of aiding and abetting in the killing.

The case touched off nationwide protests against police shootings of African Americans.

The races of Pama and the officers in Wednesday’s incident in Kaneohe were not released.

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