STAR-BULLETIN / SEPTEMBER 2007
Gerald Paakaula, left, and wife Joreen, shown here entering court, are named as defendants in a suit filed by a military couple over a Waikele parking lot beating.
Suit filed over notorious beating
The case involves an attack in which racial epithets were yelled
A military couple has filed suit over a parking-lot beating that made national news last year because of racial overtones.
The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court yesterday, claims Andrew and Dawn Dussell suffered severe and permanent injury and humiliation and incurred medical expenses as a result of the Feb. 19, 2007, attack.
Named as defendants are Gerald and Joreen Paakaula and their teenage son Alika.
Andrew Dussell, 27, an Army staff sergeant and veteran of two tours to Iraq at the time of the attack, was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured eye socket and concussion in the incident, which began after a fender-bender in a Waikele Center parking lot. He also lost a front tooth from being kicked.
Dawn Dussell, 24, suffered a nose cartilage injury.
The couple's son, then 3, was seated in the family's vehicle during the assault.
Gerald Paakaula, 45, is serving a five-year prison term for second-degree assault in the case. He had been charged with two counts of second-degree assault, but the prosecutor agreed to reduce one of the charges to third-degree assault in exchange for guilty pleas.
A Family Court judge ordered Alika Paakaula, who was 16 at the time of the attack, to serve a year at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Center in Kailua for his participation in the assault, the family's criminal defense attorney said.
The case elicited emotional responses from residents and nonlocals because witnesses said Alika Paakaula screamed at Andrew Dussell, calling him a "f---- haole" several times during the assault, and his father used the same expression later.
Prosecutors determined the attack was not a hate crime because it was the fender-bender and not the Dussells' race that precipitated the assault. However, U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said he asked the FBI to investigate whether the Dussells' civil rights were violated.
Witnesses said Gerald Paakaula picked up Dawn Dussell, threw her to the ground and then assaulted her husband. As Andrew Dussell was lying on the ground, witnesses said, Paakaula and his son stomped and kicked him.