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Thursday, September 30, 2004



Response in assault
was proper, police say


Police said they acted properly in the case of an assault on a 25-year-old Oklahoma woman who said she was attacked in Waikiki because she is gay.

Pam Disel alleged that police mishandled the case and did not aggressively investigate the assault.

Disel said she was not interviewed by police the day of the assault. She said when she later went to the Waikiki substation, she was initially told there was no report, then was given the wrong police report number.

However, police said an officer took her statement while she was in the hospital at 2 a.m. last Thursday, an hour after the attack on Kalakaua Avenue across from the Waikiki police substation.

Ken Miller, an advocate for homosexuals, has said he is worried about the safety of gay visitors after the assaults of Disel and a 39-year-old man who left a gay bar in Waikiki on Sept. 18.

Disel, who was walking with two other women, said she was punched in the eye by a man after she answered affirmatively when asked if she was gay. She suffered a concussion, broken jaw and fractures under her right eye, which was swollen nearly shut.

Maj. Thomas Nitta, who oversees the Waikiki substation, said he does not know whether Disel went to the substation and did not know whether the report number was wrong.

"If she has a problem, she should be talking to the police rather than having her read it in the newspaper for everybody else to read," he said.

Disel also questioned why it took police three days before they assigned a detective to investigate the case and why a composite sketch of the attacker and his companion was not immediately done.

The case was initially classified as a third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.

"Later, based on the victim's injuries, the case was classified as an assault second after police learned the extent of her injuries," Yu said. "At that time, the case was turned over to a detective, and at that point attempts were made to contact the victim to obtain a composite."

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