A man who was pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested by a Honolulu police officer in 2014 after chanting on a beach next to an endangered monk seal filed an excessive use of force lawsuit in federal court last week.
The incident recently gained attention after a video was posted online by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that showed the encounter between Jamie Kalani Rice and Officer Ming Wang on a beach in Nanakuli.
Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro also said at that time he would consider taking the case to a grand jury after a subordinate declined to pursue charges against Wang.
Rice is now being represented in his civil lawsuit by Honolulu attorney Michael Green, a high-powered lawyer with a history of taking on big cases.
The lawsuit states that Rice was not threatening Wang or being combative during the incident, and that the officer and department wrote reports “that altered the events as they actually took place” to justify the use of force and Rice’s arrest.
Wang, Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and the City and County of Honolulu are named as defendants in the case.
The lawsuit does not specify how much money Rice is seeking in damages.