Two Honolulu police officers who watched their partner punch and kick two men inside a Chinatown game room last September now face federal charges for allegedly trying to cover it up.
Officer Nelson Tamayori and Joe Becera, a reserve officer, each face “misprision of felony” charges for not reporting a crime to the proper authorities and for omitting the attack from their own police reports.
Becera faces an additional charge of making false statements when he told FBI investigators that he did not see his colleague strike one of the men inside the game room.
Misprision carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison while a false statement charge can net up to five years.
HPD officer Vincent Morre, in the white shirt, was caught on video attacking two men in a Chinatown game room.
Screen shot from KITV
Tamayori and Becera were both with HPD Officer Vincent Morre on Sept. 5, 2014, when he was caught on surveillance video slapping, punching and kicking two men. Morre also threw a stool at one of the men.
U.S. attorneys charged Morre with two counts of civil rights violations on May 6. Morre pleaded guilty to those charges a couple weeks later, saying, “I lost my temper.”
Sentencing is scheduled for August. Morre faces up to 20 years in prison. He was a nine-year veteran of the department before the assault, and worked with a plainclothes unit that targets street crime.
Honolulu Deputy Police Chief Dave Kajihiro issued a statement Thursday about the charges facing Tamayori and Becera, saying that the allegations “underscore the importance of reporting misconduct.”
“If you witness but fail to report another officer’s misconduct, then you’re going to be held responsible for your actions,” Kajihiro said. “It’s extremely disappointing because this incident does not reflect what HPD stands for or the many good things that our officers do.”
Tamayori is a corporal with 14 years of service. According to the department, he has been placed on desk duty. Becera resigned after the investigation into the game room incident began.
Read the criminal complaints for Tamayori and Becera here: