A handful of police misconduct cases came to a close this week with a $30,000 legal settlement, a not guilty verdict and a 10-year prison sentence.
On Thursday, a Kauai police officer was cleared of negligent homicide in a case involving the 2015 death of Michael Kocher, a 19-year-old pedestrian.
Kocher was hit by a car while walking along a highway in Kauai at night on Jan. 4, 2015. The responding officer, Irvin Magayanes, accidentally hit Kocher a second time when arriving on the scene.
It was a busy week for a handful of police officers accused of crime and misconduct.
Magayanes was arrested and charged in August 2015 with felony negligent manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
A jury found Magayanes not guilty Thursday morning after an eight-day trial, according to a press release from his attorneys.
The same day in Honolulu, a $30,000 legal settlement was reached in an excessive use of force case in which Honolulu police officer Ming Wang was caught on video beating a man who appeared to be harassing a monk seal on a beach in Nanakuli.
The video showed Wang approaching the man, Jamie Kalani Rice, while he appeared to be talking to an endangered monk seal and throwing sand at it.
As Rice walked away from Wang, the video captured Wang beating Rice with his baton. Rice filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in January 2016.
You can watch that video here. The beating takes place around the 9:30 mark.
On the Big Island, former Department of Land and Natural Resources officer Ethan Ferguson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenager on a beach on New Year’s Day 2016.
The only information that has been released publicly about the circumstances of his termination were contained in a report to the Legislature that detailed which county police officers have been suspended or terminated for misconduct.
Here’s how that report described the circumstances that resulted in his termination:
The officer transported a juvenile female runaway without a supervisor’s authorization and was untruthful during the investigation. It was also determined that the officer altered another officer’s name and badge number in a police log book and submitted a falsified mileage record.
According to the Hawaii Tribune Herald, Ferguson’s victim in the 2016 incident, who was 16 at the time of the sexual assault, told the court during his sentencing hearing that her life has never been the same.
“Since this incident, I just haven’t been as happy,” she said. “Not a day goes past that I don’t think about what happened. … I would just like him to serve the maximum.”
Ferguson declined to address the court.
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