Ex-officer acquitted in beating
Martell Irish was accused of beating a suspect in custody on Maui in 2004
Attorney Michael Green said he will try to win reinstatement for an ex-Maui police officer who was acquitted by a jury of beating a man in custody in a sugar-cane field.
Martell Irish, 40, went on trial last week for third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. The jury began deliberations at 11 a.m. Friday and came back with the not-guilty verdict Monday afternoon.
Joseph Crisafulli, 28, accused Irish and another officer he could not identify of beating him Dec. 19, 2004, in a cane field at Keahua Junction in Haliimaile, Maui.
"The jury said there was reasonable doubt that anything illegal happened between (Irish) and Crisafulli," said Green, Irish's attorney.
The other officer was later identified as Derek Kaaukai, who was fired from the police department, as was Irish, said Maui County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin, who assisted in prosecuting the case.
Crisafulli came out of Casanova Italian Restaurant & Deli in Makawao about 1:30 a.m. that day and was told by Irish to leave.
Crisafulli repeatedly refused to leave and some witnesses said he took an aggressive stance, Martin said.
Crisafulli pointed to Irish's name tag and told him he would remember his name, Martin said.
The officers brought Crisafulli to the ground and handcuffed him.
Irish was a patrolman at the time and had been with the department for 2 1/2 years.
Prosecutors argued Crisafulli's pants were clean when he left Casanova but dirty when he got to the station.
"How did his clothes get dirty and his neck get scratched up?" Martin said.
Green said Crisafulli received minor cuts and bruises consistent with resisting arrest.
Crisafulli also filed a civil lawsuit against Maui County in 2005, alleging false arrest and police brutality concerning the same alleged beating.