Suit alleges brutality by 2 Maui officers
A man claims that the police drove him to a cane field and beat him severely
WAILUKU » A Maui man has filed a lawsuit against Maui County, alleging false arrest and police brutality.
Joseph Crisafulli said he was outside Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli in Makawao about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 19, 2004, as police responded to an altercation in a nearby parking lot.
Police officer Martell Irish asked Crisafulli if he knew anyone involved in the altercation and Crisafulli said he didn't, according to the suit filed Monday in Maui Circuit Court.
Irish asked Crisafulli to leave, but Crisafulli asked why he had to leave because he had every right to be there, the lawsuit alleged.
After Crisafulli said he would remember the officer's name, the officer threw Crisafulli to the ground and handcuffed him, the lawsuit said.
Irish put Crisafulli in a police squad car and eventually drove on Haleakala Highway to a sugar cane field behind some bushes, the lawsuit said.
Another police squad car arrived, and Crisafulli was pulled out of the patrol car and beaten by Irish and another police officer, the lawsuit charged.
The lawsuit said Crisafulli was choked, hit and strangled.
"He was beaten for a considerable period of time," said Crisafulli's attorney, David Gierlach.
Gierlach said Crisafulli was eventually taken to the police station and charged. The charge wasn't available.
Gierlach said his office is still investigating the case and doesn't yet have the name of the second officer.
Crisafulli's lawsuit contends the arrest was unlawful and Crisafulli was assaulted unlawfully by the police.
Maui Police Deputy Chief Kekuhaupio Akana said Irish no longer works for the Maui Police Department.
Akana said he was unable to discuss details about why Irish was no longer at the department because of union discussions.
Akana said he couldn't comment on the allegations, because he hadn't seen the lawsuit.