The brother of a Waipahu man fatally shot by police is suing the Honolulu officer who he says is responsible for the death, alleging that the officer didn’t follow proper procedure for handling people with mental illness.

Victor Rivera, 43, was shot by police in his backyard Dec. 14, 2013. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2010.

Honolulu Police Department. HPD. Taser X26.  17 july 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A federal lawsuit alleges that Honolulu police used excessive force when shooting and killing Victor Rivera in 2013. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha told the media at the time of the shooting that Rivera had threatened responding officers with a 12-foot-long metal pole used to pick mangoes. The pole, Kealoha said, had a 6-inch blade on its tip.

The dead man’s brother, Randy Rivera, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week that states it was the police who escalated the situation.

Randy Rivera says in court records that he called 911 in an effort to get his brother to a hospital for treatment.

Officer Tyler Fujimoto arrived at the Rivera home in Waipahu at 3:20 a.m., where the brothers lived with their parents.

Randy Rivera claims he told Fujimoto that Victor had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and that he hadn’t been taking his medication. He also told Fujimoto that police had come to the house the week before for a similar episode, and that Victor had voluntarily gone to the hospital in an ambulance.

The lawsuit states Fujimoto never told his superiors that information when calling for back-up.

When three more officers arrived at the home, all four entered the backyard with their guns drawn. Victor became “terrified” and picked up the mango stick, the suit states

One of the officers deployed a Taser into Victor’s chest, at which point he he dropped the pole and fell to one knee grabbing his stomach, the suit states. Then Fujimoto, “without reason or provocation,” opened fire, the suit states.

Fujimoto emptied all nine rounds in his gun clip, hitting Victor in the chest, stomach, legs and forearm, the suit states. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Randy Rivera is being represented by Honolulu-based attorney Michael Green. The City & County of Honolulu is also named as a defendant in the case.

You can read the full complaint here:

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