Police: Autopsy finds Taser did not cause custody death
Police said Tuesday the death of a 39-year-old Kailua-Kona man in custody on Feb. 4 was not the result of being tasered.
According to a written Hawaii Police Department statement on Tuesday, the final results of an autopsy conducted Feb. 5 on the body of Randall Hatori concluded that the cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest due to the combined effects of high levels of methamphetamine in his blood, an enlarged heart and a physical struggle.
According to Dr. Lindsey Harle, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy, the stress of these three factors likely caused a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, that led to his death.
Dr. Harle said the autopsy showed minor injuries on the body of Hatori and that, while an electronic stun gun was used during the confrontation, it did not play a role in his death.
According to police, on Feb. 4 at 12:30 a.m., a Kona oatrol officer made a traffic stop at a gas station in a shopping center on Palani Road. The driver, 38-year-old Ernest Ricky Alvarez of Kailua-Kona, was arrested on a $10,000 bench warrant for contempt of court.
Hatori, a passenger who was wanted for assault and violating temporary restraining orders, fled on foot.
According to police, the officer pursued Hatori on foot and a struggle ensued while trying to apprehend him. Initially unable to restrain Hatori, the officer deployed used his Taser in an attempt to subdue him. Hatori continued to actively resist arrest and the struggle continued. Other officers responded to the scene and assisted in restraining Hatori. After Hatori was placed in handcuffs, he became unresponsive.
Fire Department medics attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate Hatori, who was taken to Kona Community Hospital and pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m.
Police say 7.3 grams of methamphetamine was recovered at the scene of the struggle.
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