A video recorded on New Years Eve, 2013, shows a Honolulu police officer taking a jab at a bystander who recorded an arrest on his iPhone.
Although he didn't drop the phone, the bystander, Randy Salazar, Jr., filed a federal lawsuit claiming the officer, Robert Steiner, broke a bone in his hand after hitting him with a Taser in the scuffle. Last week, Honolulu City Council approved a settlement to pay Salazar $37,500 in taxpayer money.
The case was investigated by HPD’s internal affairs division, which advised that Steiner, a decorated 22-year veteran, should be charged with second-degree assault. The Honolulu Prosecutor’s office said there was “insufficient evidence” to do so.
The incident adds nearly $40,000 to the $5.7 million that HPD has paid in settlements in the past 11 years. The Honolulu Police Department is under heavy scrutiny for its handling of officer transgressions -- whether it be accidental gun discharge (something that happened on three separate occasions this year) or domestic violence, as seen in recent footage of an off-duty sergeant repeatedly punching his girlfriend.
Since 2000, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, 23 Honolulu police officers have been suspended for domestic violence incidents; an additional three were fired, but were later reinstated or allowed to resign.
“The police have a hard job . . . but they’re not above the law,” Tracy Fukui, the attorney who represented Salazar, told Honolulu Civil Beat. “When their actions cross the line there need to be consequences.”
You can see Salazar's iPhone video below: