The suit alleges the officers also harassed and threatened the victim’s family.

The parents of a man killed by police in March are suing Hawaii County and the two officers responsible, claiming the same officers also harassed and threatened the family after the shooting.

The suit, filed in Circuit Court Thursday, alleges that Justin Gaspar and Chad Taniyama wrongfully killed Kainoa Kahele-Bishop, acted negligently, and committed assault and battery.

“They unlawfully resorted to the use of excessive and deadly force without justification,” the family’s lawyer, Eric Seitz, wrote in the suit.

The suit also alleges that Gaspar, Taniyama and other yet-to-be-identified individuals have “harassed” Kahele-Bishop’s family, making “false, misleading, and/or threatening statements” about the shooting “to support the narrative” that it was justified.

Hawaii County police arrested Jake, brother of Kainoa Kahele-Bishop on March 13 at the Kona police station. (Hawaii News Now/2023)

A few days after the officers shot and killed Kahele-Bishop on March 10 in Kailua-Kona, Gaspar clashed with Kahele-Bishop’s brother Jake, which resulted in Jake being indicted and ordered by the court not to contact Gaspar.

Seitz said in an interview that, while he didn’t include the incident in his suit, he believed the prosecutors were “stepping in” to the Kahele-Bishop case by prosecuting relatives of the deceased man on “very frivolous and sketchy grounds.”

Incident On Video

Detective Justin Gaspar filmed by the family of Kainoa Kahele-Bishop during a confrontation in the Kona police station parking lot. (Hawaii News Now/2023)

On March 13, Jake was driving with his wife and 6-year-old child when Gaspar started following their vehicle, Seitz said in an interview.

As Gaspar passed them, Jake Kahele-Bishop flipped off the officer, Seitz said.

Kahele-Bishop and Gaspar both proceeded to the Kona police station parking lot, where video footage published by Hawaii News Now shows Gaspar pointing his service weapon at the family’s vehicle as Kahele-Bishop’s wife says, “We have kids in the car.”

Video then shows four officers pinning Kahele-Bishop to the asphalt as they handcuff him.

On March 20, the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Kahele-Bishop with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening and one count of first-degree resisting an order to stop while driving his car — all class-C felonies.

The indictment says Kahele-Bishop threatened Gaspar and added that Kahele-Bishop did not obey the directions of other officers to stop his car, instead attempting to flee police.

Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen’s office charged Jake Kahele-Bishop with terroristic threatening. (Provided/2020)

Neither Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen or the Hawaii Police Department responded to requests for comment.

Since the Hawaii Police Department said Gaspar and Taniyama, as plainclothes vice detectives, were not wearing body cameras, the sole account of what happened to Kainoa Kahele-Bishop originates from the department account.

The department says officers had been pursuing another man who allegedly shot and injured a woman in a domestic dispute earlier in the week. They learned that the suspect was with people who had a silver Chevy Malibu, police said.

Gaspar and Taniyama stopped the Malibu at an intersection where, after asking the driver, Kainoa Kahele-Bishop, to show his hands, he “began reaching for an object,” police said in a press release.

“Fearing for their safety, two detectives discharged their duty weapons, striking the driver,” the press release said. “Unfortunately he died at the scene.”

Police said they searched the car and found a loaded sawed-off shotgun, an unloaded rifle, more than 25 rounds of ammunition and eight credit cards that didn’t belong to the vehicle’s occupants.

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