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lawsuit Family files wrongful death against police

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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:30 am

LIHU‘E — A year to the day after Richard “Dickie” Louis was shot on his roof by police officers attempting to arrest him, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 5th Circuit Court on Feb. 15.

Louis, who had 32 prior arrests, according to police, was the lone fatality that occurred during a multi-agency Hawai‘i Fugitive Task Force sweep to serve 47 warrants and make 31 arrests on 249 charges in 2012. The $310,000 warrant was issued for Louis to appear at a sentencing scheduling hearing.

In December 2012, Louis missed closing arguments of his trial where a jury found him guilty on drugs and weapons charges stemming from a four-year-old Koke‘e koa wood cutting case. He had already missed one day of the trial for medical reasons.

The suit was filed by the Law Office of Hempey & Meyers, and the family has also retained the attorney Myles Breiner in Honolulu. The complainant is Lynell Tokuda, who is representing the estate of Richard Earnest Louis, and his family, Richard, Derrick and Kevin Louis.

The suit names Kaua‘i Police Department, Officer Chris Calio and the County of Kaua‘i as defendants. They are charging assault and battery, unlawful search and seizure, unnecessary use of deadly force, negligent training, three other counts of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful death.

“I have known Dickie Louis and his family for a few years and empathize with his children’s loss of both their parents to tragic deaths,” Gregory Meyers said. “Our law firm is genuinely compassionate when it comes to helping those who have suffered grave harm through the acts of government officials.”

The police report at the time said Louis, 62, of Koloa, was resisting arrest and had barricaded himself in the home. Louis appeared on the roof in an aggressive and agitated state at about 6:45 p.m., and was shot after ignoring commands to surrender and threatening to kill an officer with a metal object.

Louis died as a result of massive blood loss from gunshot wounds, according to the lawsuit. The civil action is filed for damages against the county and the State of Hawai‘i, and against Calio for excessive use of deadly force.

Chief of Police Darryl Perry said his deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Louis for their loss, and regrets that he cannot comment on the circumstances of events that led to the shooting as this case is still under investigation.

“However, I can say that our officers are highly trained in the use of deadly force as mandated by Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, and I stand firmly behind the necessary actions taken by the officer given the totality of circumstances,” Perry said.

Approximately 20 to 30 police cars and 50 to 60 law enforcement personnel, including the KPD SWAT teams, were on the scene, according to the complaint. Several officers began yelling for Louis to come out of the house.

Emily Fontanilla was inside and exited the home because of urging phone calls from KPD Officer Paris Resinto.

The complaint alleges that officers obtain permission from Fontanilla to enter the home after 45 minutes.

Armed officers pounded on the door and Louis appeared on the two-part roof of the home, the complaint said. He was wearing cutoffs and no shirt and was shot after throwing some bamboo poles onto the driveway.

Officer Calio fired four to six bullets at Louis, striking his right groin and thigh, severing his femoral artery and rendering him unconscious, states the complaint. An ambulance showed after 20 minutes after initially going to a wrong address.

After surgery at Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Louis was transported to a vascular surgeon on O‘ahu, but was pronounced dead at 12:54 a.m. at Queen’s Hospital.

The complaint notes that no weapons were recovered and that garden tools alleged to have been wielded by Louis were located more than 100 feet away from where Louis was shot.

“Our investigation has revealed that KPD inappropriately and inexplicably sent a police officer on a rooftop to shoot an unarmed man, while law enforcement already had his house entirely surrounded, and while Mr. Louis posed no danger or risk of flight,” Meyers said.

At the time, Perry was on leave by the order of Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., and Assistant Chiefs of Police Roy Asher and Ali Quibilan were also on leave during the course of an internal affairs investigation.

Acting Chief of Police Michael Contrades was attending an FBI Academy in Virginia but was able to exercise authority, issuing press releases. At the time, Contrades said that it appeared the officers acted appropriately.

According to the complaint, Acting Deputy Chief of Police Mark Begley was in charge of KPD operations on the date of the incident and issued  directions to SWAT commander Captain Hank Barriga.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Cliffs posted at 10:32 pm on Wed, Mar 6, 2013.

    Cliffs Posts: 16

    From TGI:

    "DeBlake is with the 29th Support Battalion, 29th Brigade Combat Team, which includes the 299th Infantry, 487th Artillery division, and 100th Battalion and 4442nd Infantry.

    Sgt. 1st Class Chris Calio, who is with the 487th and had been assigned to an area along the Kuwait-Iraq border, is home already, and is already back to work as a KPD police officer, DeBlake said,,,"

    KPD Officer DeBlake and incident at Kapaa High School and now Sgt. Chris Calio.

    PTSD from time served in warfare on the frontline. Sad all the way around.

  • notahippi posted at 5:58 pm on Wed, Feb 27, 2013.

    notahippi Posts: 482

    If the mayor would have kept out of the police business and hadn't suspended Perry I bet this shooting would not have happened....

  • 1newscat posted at 9:18 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2013.

    1newscat Posts: 117

    I didn't know Richard Lewis well. However many years ago I did spend an afternoon up Kokee sharing a few beers talking story with him. He was a good man and kept his place nice and cared well for his beautiful animals. Then he seems to have fallen apart when his wife died of cancer. I too have had my own beloved wife die of cancer and this was the most difficult time of my life. It was sad to hear of the toll this took on Richard and see his life spiral down. Including all of his apparent misdeeds no way did he deserve this treatment.
    Kauai, we have a big problem!

  • nate_808 posted at 12:50 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    nate_808 Posts: 25

    Now this case the council should settle...

  • Foghorn Leghorn posted at 10:58 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Foghorn Leghorn Posts: 0

    “Our investigation has revealed that KPD inappropriately and inexplicably sent a police officer on a rooftop to shoot an unarmed man, while law enforcement already had his house entirely surrounded, and while Mr. Louis posed no danger or risk of flight,” Meyers said.

    Couldn't a taser have worked in this case since he was right there?

    "Louis, who had 32 prior arrests, according to police, was the lone fatality that occurred during a multi-agency Hawai‘i Fugitive Task Force sweep to serve 47 warrants and make 31 arrests on 249 charges in 2012."

    Why was the task force happening when: "At the time, Perry was on leave by the order of Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., and Assistant Chiefs of Police Roy Asher and Ali Quibilan were also on leave during the course of an internal affairs investigation." and "Acting Chief of Police Michael Contrades was attending an FBI Academy in Virginia"

    It's all in the story if you pull out the facts. I think the family has a very legitimate suit.

  • JustClaire posted at 8:42 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    JustClaire Posts: 0

    The loss of a life is tragic, I am sure this man was loved by his family and friends. Yes he broke the law, 32 times in fact.....
    But certainly did not deserve to die for it, BUT on the other hand, I don't think he was meant to die, I don't think it was a kill shot, but a shot meant to take him down. Unfortunately it hit a major artery and he bled out...
    Some times we have to pay the consequences of our actions, and while this consequence was extreme, it would not have played out this way if he had cooperated with KPD.
    This man was not innocent in the role of his death, tragic yes, preventable..yes, but he is just as much at fault as anyone...
    The law suit is frivolous...
    To slam the defense attorneys for taking the case is pretty silly, that is their JOB, they defend people....that is our RIGHT...guilty or innocent we have a right to defense....

  • Regular Guy Giving Just Retorts posted at 7:34 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Regular Guy Giving Just Retorts Posts: 941

    In this case a worth while expenditure...

  • Regular Guy Giving Just Retorts posted at 7:31 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Regular Guy Giving Just Retorts Posts: 941

    Why yes they are...

  • tunataxi posted at 6:53 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    tunataxi Posts: 578

    This citizen truly deserved some jail time but to kill him is unacceptable. If this happens what's next??

  • Akamai Mom posted at 6:10 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    Akamai Mom Posts: 15

    I agree with RG. I have seen this man around for years without any feeling of threat from him. 31 arrests for what? We have some pretty trivial arrests.

    This comment stream is so disturbing to see people alright with this level of force needed to surround an unarmed 62-year-old for not showing up to court for a koa wood charge. Drug charges? Is that pot? Is this guy an alcoholic? Is that how we should deal with addictions?

    I saw this level of force used against my 26-year-old neighbor when he tried to kill himself. I was really afraid they were going to shoot him.

    We have way too much weaponry in our calm, little community. How much financial capacity is involved with letting these officers play with guns in this type of serving of a warrant for a non-violent crime?

    I appreciate the author of this article for reporting this violation.

  • kauaiisfun posted at 3:47 am on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    kauaiisfun Posts: 93

    You can't use a taser when you are on the ground and someone is on the roof. It is too bad more people don't understand the split second decisions officers have to make in the field. It is easy to arm chair quarter back after the fact.

  • Cliffs posted at 10:23 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Cliffs Posts: 16

    This is a tragedy.

    Mayor Carvalho needs to stay out of police business, and worst, keep his personal vendetas away from the chief of police. The police commission is in place to keep public servants--such as a mayor--from tampering with any PD. It is a dangerous proposition when a lay person--such as a mayor--takes charge of a police department. The whole structure of the department and Kauai's safety were debilitated.

    During this time when Mayor Carvalho turned KPD upside down, there was this tragic shooting, and a KPD Officer rear-ended another vehicle. Last police shooting was in 2005. No records of a KPD Officer simply rear-ending another vehicle. Fall out from police department leadership being gutted by the mayor.

  • DeeKlabo posted at 9:18 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    DeeKlabo Posts: 4

    This is to Therestofthestory. Chief Perry didn't walk off the job and placing the assistant chiefs on leave was not Perry's decision. Are you kidding. It was Mayor Carvalho, Managing Director Heu, and County Attorney Castillo who should take the blame for this. In my books no matter how you twist it, if the they had not suspended Perry, Louis would be alive today plain and simple. Begley was not competent and Barriga lack the experience handle this. I for one can't wait for the truth to come out so people like you can stop writing your lies. It's just sickening.

  • Citygirl posted at 5:09 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Citygirl Posts: 0

    Dickie was a real person...who lived loved and laughed...People now refer to him as a
    statistic....but I knew him as a friend, father, husband, son and brother. I wish everyone
    had the chance to know the "REAL" Dickie as we did.

  • cowboy posted at 4:46 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    cowboy Posts: 0

    You are right recondog......50 or 60 police cars in the area....One unarmed frail looking old man...Shot dead!!!!!! Plus handcuffed after the shooting as paramedics arrived. Justice was not served for Dickie on that fateful day.

  • cowboy posted at 4:38 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    cowboy Posts: 0

    Dickie was a cousin of mine. We were close all his life and he helped a lot of people in his auto body business. For those of you who didn't get to know him I can understand your comments. After his wife's traumatic death and the loss of his brother and his mother everything went down hill and he unfortunately made wrong choices. I think the officer using his gun and not his taser was a wrong choice. Yes, Dickie should have been arrested and put in jail for his wrong doings. Our county spends more money rescuing tourists then keeping Mr. Louis in jail. We all have our own thoughts so let the courts decide.........

  • Tila96766 posted at 4:18 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Tila96766 Posts: 7

    ..how about those elephant tranquilizer dart guns...or maybe pig tranquilizer dart gun...what tranquilizer darts are more expensive than them bullets...

  • Tila96766 posted at 4:16 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Tila96766 Posts: 7

    "...throwing bamboo poles in the driveway"...childish act of littering...they used to give you tickets for that...

  • interesting posted at 1:28 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    interesting Posts: 1931

    probably want to hold off till more evidence is collected and communicated. could easily pan out either way.

    and yes, your reputation (criminal record, propensity for violence, etc) does factor into how reasonable it is to conclude you are about do to violent act A, B, or C (towards cops, or anybody else) .

    i would guess the facts are largely on the side of KPD, but that the counsel still settles (which is weeeaaakkkk!!!!...)

  • Keep it real Kauai posted at 1:27 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Keep it real Kauai Posts: 4


  • Keep it real Kauai posted at 12:10 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Keep it real Kauai Posts: 4

    Exactly they should have lured him down with promises of fairy's and ensaymada 's.

  • stearis posted at 12:08 pm on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    stearis Posts: 0

    "...32 prior arrests..."

    Bang! You're dead.

    "...obviously a severe public nuisance..."

    Bang! Bang! You're dead.

    "...was resisting arrest..."

    Bang! Bang! Bang! You're dead.

    "...threatened the police with a metal object."

    Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! You're dead.

    But the kicker...

    "...was shot after throwing some bamboo poles onto the driveway."

    Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! You're dead.

    RisR, you are the real joke here and the one who ought to be ashamed of himself. I'm curious: When you look in the mirror, is anything reflected back?

  • Mayberry posted at 11:24 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Mayberry Posts: 0

    Uh Oh. Someone missed court - kill him. Or is it an unintended consequence of Mayor-Chief drama? Wonder if the would have happened if Darryl and Roy were not suspended at the time. Would the Chief have really ordered officers onto the roof, to shoot the man down? Did they really have to go straight to lethal means? This is a tragedy. Poor family lost a grandpa - for missing court?

  • nate_808 posted at 10:52 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    nate_808 Posts: 25

    Did they really have to kill him???

  • Therestofthestory posted at 10:13 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    Therestofthestory Posts: 0

    It's very odd how someone would put an anti-Carvalho twist on this incident, completely inappropriate. I know many of the officers at KPD, both present and retired. The fact is that Darryl Perry placed Quibilan and Asher on paid leave. The fact is that Darryl Perry then walked off the job PRIOR to being placed on leave by the Mayor. The fact is that Michael Contrades chose not to leave his mainland training and return to Kauai at that time. HOWEVER, the fact is that Captain Kaleo Perez was KPD's commander on scene at the Dickie Louis house, and was one of KPD's most senior and capable administrators. The people of Kauai need to know the real truth, not twisted deception.

  • upnup posted at 8:49 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    upnup Posts: 130

    It's no one's fault but the deceased. I trust the majority of the people can see this. Unfortunately, there is always the minority who cannot accept this and seek compensation, yes, for themselves, as a form of distorted retribution. The ones who should ALSO be ashamed are the defense attorneys willing to accept these cases. Yes, they are in it for compensation as well. It's unfortunate in America we do not have "loser pays" legislation. This would curb the desire to sue unless you are pretty darn sure you have a good case.

  • recondog posted at 8:25 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    recondog Posts: 203

    Out-manned 30 to 1, obviously out-gunned, unarmed except with an as yet undefined "metal object" and on a roof where he clearly represented no threat to the tax feeders. This man was summarily executed. That's okay, he was just one of the mundanes and after all "officer safety" is more important than his life. So no one on the PD had the skill or desire to end the confrontation peacefully? Now this is going to cost all of us taxpayers dearly.

    RG DeSoto

  • kauaiauwe posted at 8:20 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    kauaiauwe Posts: 86

    Hempey is not the attorney representing this family; Greg Meyers is. Juss sayin ...

  • puhiwahine posted at 8:16 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    puhiwahine Posts: 0

    I have to question the integrity of this man...32 prior arrests, drug issues. Since when is it OK to not listen to police officers orders? Something tells me that this man most likely inflicted pain, injury or harm on more than one person in his lifetime and most likely was not a productive part of society. Personally I'm glad I'm not working my knuckles to the bone supporting his sorry ass in jail anymore.

  • getreal posted at 7:54 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    getreal Posts: 58

    Dan Hempey didn't take the case. go back and read the story. You will also learn the cops SAY he threatened them with a metal object. But no metal object was found anywhere near him. It's time the public found out what really happened. The cops have no right to shoot people off their roofs even if they are serving a warrant.

  • mm posted at 7:39 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    mm Posts: 0

    Not sure where I stand on this lawsuit but the loss of a human life does give rise to some questions.......Bernard Carvalho and his legal counsel determined it was prudent and rightful to put three of our top law enforcers/administrators on leave with the 4th attending training on the mainland. This left a huge gaping hole in critical decision making with an acute crisis involving Richard Louis, while Bernard was partying up in Hollywood. I'm sure Hempey will jump all over this one....and rightfully so.

  • rightisright posted at 6:52 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    rightisright Posts: 9

    What a joke! This guy had 32 prior arrests, was obviously a severe public nuisance, was resisting arrest, and threatened the police with a metal object. I'm sure they will find he was known to have used deadly weapons in the past. Play with fire and you get burned.

    I hope this family spends all their money, goes broke, and loses. Now that would be justice.

    Our police have a tough enough job as it is without dealing with vermin like this family!

    Dan Hempey - you should be ashamed of yourself for taking this case.

  • kauaiisfun posted at 5:49 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    kauaiisfun Posts: 93

    With every dollar citizen's award this guy, is a dollar taken away from law abiding citizens. These type of lawsuits should end. By the way, our senior citizens just got a one percent raise in the Social Security (approx. $24 each). We need to start taking care of good people and not those who drain our system.

  • interesting posted at 5:18 am on Sun, Feb 24, 2013.

    interesting Posts: 1931

    "intentional infliction of emotional distress"...? i don't see it


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