Security footage shows exchange before Honolulu police shoot Lindani Myeni

·6 min read

Jun. 16—New footage released from a surveillance camera mounted on the door of the home where a 29-year-old South African man was shot and killed by police following a fight with officers moved community members to tears and stoked simmering outrage over his death.

The video captures Lindani Sanele Myeni entering the home at 91 Coelho Way in Nuuanu and then leaving while apologizing to the couple who called police.

The footage was reviewed by Honolulu police on the evening of the shooting, according to Lindani Myeni's family's attorney, James J. Bickerton.

Myeni died of multiple gunshot wounds April 14 after he was shot during a fight with police officers responding to a 911 call from a woman who said an unarmed Myeni walked in and out of the home where she was staying. Prosecuting Attorney Steven S. Alm and Honolulu police declined comment. The prosecutor's and police investigations into the incident are open and ongoing.

Police did not respond to a question about why they said in the days following the shooting that Myeni had exhibited odd behavior and burglarized the home.

The prosecuting attorney's office declined a Honolulu Star-Advertiser request to release unedited body-worn camera footage from the fight and fatal shooting. Police did not reply to a similar request.

The city recently returned Lindani Myeni's personal effects, including his wedding ring and clothes, but did not return his mobile phone after Alm's office applied for and received a search warrant to examine the device's contents.

The Myeni incident was the topic of testifiers at the Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board's scheduled meeting Tuesday. The LEOIRB is an appointed state panel that reviews shootings by police and makes nonbinding recommendations to prosecutors.

The testimony was passionate and in some instances, emotional as several testifiers broke down during their remarks. Almost all of them highlighted the international, national and local debate about the use of deadly force by police and HPD's lack of transparency.--------"I was heartbroken to follow the recent death of Lindani Myeni, my fellow countryman. I was born and raised in South Africa, " said Louis G. Herman, who testified as an individual before the LEOIRB. "I love the islands. I'm proud of the aspiration of a future of aloha. There is national and international outrage at the frequency of police killings of civilians. I hope you will do everything you can to restore trust in the police force. Policing is extremely important. We need the police force."

Leslie Harvey fought through tears during her testimony and said HPD is not to be trusted.

"Police are not judge, jury and executioner. HPD is wildly out of control, " she said.

Avril Lynn Janice Kotze testified from South Africa, and said she hopes the family is made whole and that all of Myeni's belongings are returned.

"His death was unnecessary and uncalled for, " she said. "I trust in you that the right thing is done and justice must prevail."

Natalie Nimer, an educator of 20 years who works with high school students, said there is a caste system in the U.S. that prioritizes the lives of wealthier and whiter citizens than it does to those who are brown and black and particularly those who are not citizens.

"Their lives deserve justice. The officers who did this need to be held accountable, " she said. "The public deserves to see the evidence. People are afraid of police. Many youth I work with are afraid. I'm afraid, as a woman who happens to be darker."

The LEOIRB members did not comment on the Myeni case and sat emotionless through the testimony as Chairman and former Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta calmly moved through each testifier. Their deliberations and recommendations are confidential.

Footage from a Ring Home Security Camera packaged with previously unreleased body-worn camera footage from responding Honolulu police officers was sent to media Tuesday morning by Bickerton, who is representing the family of Myeni in a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers, HPD and the city.

Bickerton has said Myeni believed the home he entered was the ISKCON Hawaii temple at nearby 51 Coelho Way.

In the video, Myeni, a husband, father and former professional rugby player, is seen jogging to catch up with a couple entering the home at 91 Coelho Way in Nuuanu on the evening of April 14.

The video is captured from the door facing the semicircular driveway fronting the home.

It begins with the lights of two cars driving in, and then Da Ju "Dexter " Wang is seen walking into the home with his wife, Shiying "Sabine " Wang, following shortly after.

Myeni is wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a face mask and his "umqhele, " a Zulu warrior headband, and takes his shoes off before entering the home.

Sabine Wang stops and looks at Myeni as he bends down to remove his shoes.

Myeni enters the home for a brief moment, prompting Sabine Wang to pretend to make a phone call to 911 operators, and Myeni is seen exiting the home and standing in front of the door as Sabine says, "Hello, someone just break in, breaking into my house. ... He's in front of our door, " she says, as Myeni stands outside.

Dexter can be heard saying, "We have no temple."

Sabine Wang then calls 911 for real and says that "Lindon from South Africa " is at their home. The operator asks whether Myeni is armed, shouting at the couple or seems confused. Wang says no.

Myeni, looking confused, walks toward the door and asks the couple, "What's wrong ?"

"Who are you ?" shouts Sabine Wang.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, " says Myeni. "I know you guys, though. May I see your phone ?"

Sabine Wang tells the 911 operator that Myeni tried to go outside.

Dexter Wang can be heard talking to the home's owner, James H. Hall, saying he doesn't know "what is going " on and that "he says his name is Lindon."

Myeni is then seen walking out of the home. He puts his shoes on and walks toward his car.

He turns one final time toward the doorway and raises his hand while saying, "Sorry."

Dexter Wang, in a calm voice, tells Hall, "He apologized and he just left."

Sabine Wang, sounding frightened, tells the 911 operator she is afraid to go outside.

"Yes, I see, car is here. He's still in the community. I think the police officer can stop him, " she says to the 911 operator.

The 911 operator asks Wang whether she remembers what the car looks like. Sabine can be seen yelling to the arriving police officers, "That's him."

The footage shows an officer engaging Myeni.

"Get on the ground, get on the ground, get on the ground now, get on the ground, get on the ground now, " says one of the police officers before Myeni punches him in the face.

"Who are you ?" shouts Myeni as he attacks. "Who are you ?"

An officer is heard yelling, "Taser, Taser, Taser, Taser."

There is a struggle as the Taser does not stop Myeni.

"Shoot him, " says an officer before a single gunshot is fired.

"F---you, " says another officer.

The final sound is three shots being fired as you see Myeni, who had sat on one of the officer's chests, fall to the ground. After the shots an officer yells "police " for the first time.

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