The man who died Tuesday while in police custody had been Tased, and methamphetamine was found at the scene of his arrest, according to a release issued Wednesday afternoon by the Hawaii Police Department.
The county medical examiner performed an autopsy Wednesday on the body of Kailua-Kona resident Randall Hatori, 39, but deferred a decision on cause of death pending toxicology and histology results.
At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, a Kona Patrol 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, who was a passenger and was wanted for assault and violating temporary restraining orders, fled on foot.
The officer pursued Hatori on foot and a struggle ensued while trying to apprehend him. Initially unable to restrain Hatori, the officer deployed 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 EMTs on scene attempted resuscitation and then transported him to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m.
Detectives recovered 7.3 grams of methamphetamine at the scene of the struggle.
The Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigations Section is continuing to investigate the incident as a coroner’s inquest and an assault on a police officer.
In addition, the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an administrative investigation, as is standard practice in any police involved death.
Alvarez remains at the Kona police cellblock while police investigate possible drug charges.