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Family of man killed by Honolulu police in 2019 files lawsuit

Casey Harlow / HPR

HONOLULU — A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a man killed by police in Honolulu.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday that the complaint was filed on behalf of the mother of Michael Kahalehoe, who was shot and killed by police in 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that five Honolulu police officers started firing into a car driven by Kahalehoe that they believed to be stolen. The complaint says the shooting was unprovoked and unjustified.

After the shooting, police said they found a handgun in Kahalehoe's waistband. The lawsuit said he never showed the gun.

Interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade Vanic did not reply to a request for an interview by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said that all shootings involving officers are reviewed by the police, prosecutor’s office and a review board.

The shooting happened after plainclothes officers in unmarked cars surrounded the vehicle being driven by Kahalehoe. According to the lawsuit, Kahalehoe started the car and police opened fire before the car “lurched” forward.

After the shooting, former Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said Kahalehoe drove “back and forth in an attempt to leave the gas station." She said Kahalehoe hit a police car and grazed an officer with the vehicle.

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