The City of Honolulu has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of Kyle Thomas’ family after the 26-year-old was shot and killed by a Honolulu police officer in 2019. The family alleges that excessive force was used when officers made contact with him after he had left a Walmart store. The Honolulu Civil Beat says Thomas, his girlfriend, and a friend had gone shopping at Walmart just before the incident. After the three individuals had gotten into Thomas’ car and were leaving the area, he was stopped at a traffic light.
That is when plainclothes officers surrounded Thomas’ vehicle in unmarked police cars. Officers then approached Thomas, who was seated in the driver’s seat, as well as the passenger sides of the vehicle. The lawsuit that was later filed alleged the officers never announced themselves when they approached the car although Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard claims they did.
The source says the officers were conducting a shoplifting investigation when they made contact with Thomas.
The lawsuit goes on to say that although officers did not identify themselves, the three occupants inside the vehicle put their hands up. But as Thomas was in the process of putting his hands up, an officer allegedly shot him which is what the suit claims led to his immediate death. The news source cites that after Thomas was shot, both his girlfriend and his friend crouched down under the dashboard and his friend tried to apply pressure to his right leg but because his foot was on the gas pedal, it caused the vehicle to move forward.
Officers then began shooting at the vehicle and it eventually came to a stop after hitting a tree. While Thomas was pronounced dead at the accident scene, his friend and girlfriend had to be transported to an area hospital as they had suffered life-threatening injuries.
A Lawsuit is Filed
After the incident, Thomas’ family brought a lawsuit against the city alleging police not only applied excessive force, but also that they wrongfully attempted to arrest Thomas and violated his due process rights. The suit also states, “The use of deadly force upon Mr. Thomas was excessive and unreasonable. The Plainclothes Officer Defendants did not give a verbal warning that deadly force would be used and there were other reasonable options available to them other than shooting and killing Mr. Thomas.”
The source cited that an internal investigation is still being conducted into the incident that led to Thomas’ death.
Are you or someone you know a victim of police brutality?
If a police officer in Honolulu, Hawaii applied excessive force during your encounter with him/her, you may have a viable case against the officer and/or the department they work for. To learn more about how you can recognize and hold accountable an officer for their unjust behavior, contact USAttorneys.com and let us get you connected with a Hawaii police brutality lawyer who can help.