Body camera video released by the Honolulu Police Department on Friday shows police efforts to coax a confused man armed with a machete and garden shears from a grassy spot tucked in a corner behind a state building.
For several minutes, a female Honolulu police officer can be seen trying to convince Tison Dinney to come out from a spot next to an electrical transformer after police were called Oct. 7 about a machete-wielding man near the Capitol. When they got there, Dinney’s machete and 12-inch garden shears were on the ground and he seemed confused about the commotion he had caused.
“Why you chasing me?” Dinney asked the officer as he stayed put in his spot next to the state Department of Health building on Punchbowl Street.
“We’re not chasing you,” the female HPD officer responded. “We’re telling you we want to talk to you.”
This video shows the view of officers talking to Tison Dinney:
At a press conference Friday afternoon, HPD Police Chief Susan Ballard said a total of six HPD officers spent a lot time with Dinney. Another five sheriff’s deputies were also on the scene. When Dinney refused to come out, the HPD officers broke into two groups of three.
“When the male refused, the decision was made to have officers on one side of the green box distract him so that officers on the other side of the green box could move in and arrest him,” Ballard explained.
“They tried their hardest to get this person to walk away,” Ballard said.
In the first video, which shows the view of officers on an asphalt driveway looking down a slope at Dinney where he is standing near the transformer, officers are seen trying to talk to Dinney about where he’s from. They continue to ask him to come out from behind the electrical transformer. He is talking to them, asking them why they are chasing him. He does not appear particularly upset or agitated. At the end of the clip, Dinney is seen reaching for a pair of 12-inch garden shears on the ground and turning toward the other group of officers.
In the second video, which shows the view of three other officers who have circled around behind the green box, one officer rushes toward him with the others close behind. They surprise the armed Dinney and he turns and strikes one with the garden shears. HPD had previously reported that Dinney struck the officer with a machete.
As that officer falls backwards, a second officer fires several shots into Dinney while a third officer activates a Taser at the same time.
This video shows officers rushing Dinney and shots being fired:
Both videos had been edited by police before being released to the media.
“My intention is to make available all body camera footage as it relates to this incident,” Ballard said.
The chief said she didn’t know whether Dinney was mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.
Dinney’s death was the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting this year, and the 11th HPD police shooting since January. HPD officers have only recently begun using body-mounted cameras and it was the first shooting to be recorded on a body cam.
“I really don’t know what’s going on but it seems really bad this year,” Ballard said of the rise in violent encounters with HPD officers.
The chief emphasized that the department will begin Crisis Intervention Team training for officers in January. Nationwide, CIT training has helped officers learn different ways to de-escalate tensions when dealing with more emotionally distraught individuals.
“Regardless of what the persons’s state of mind … the officer still has to look after their protection as well as the protection of the community,” Ballard said.
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