Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News
Prison for cop who
'spun out of control'

A judge says the now ex-HPD sergeant
used 'vigilante justice' in beating suspects

By Linda Hosek

Calling himself a "man of pride," former Honolulu police Sgt. Clyde Hayami said he hoped a public he had tried to protect would not judge his 17-year career on three incidents that would send him to federal prison for using illegal force.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra yesterday sentenced Hayami, 42, to four years and nine months in prison for three counts of felony civil rights violations in separate cases dating to 1994.

"I've already suffered the severest of punishment - the loss of my job as a police officer," Hayami said in a courtroom in which his young son cried and more than 50 friends and relatives watched.

Hayami in April pleaded guilty to beating Kapolei resident Ivan Folau, 21, while he was in custody Jan. 4, 1995, at the Pearl City police station.

Hayami, who resigned from the force last week, also pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of Andrew Falcon in August 1994 and Bryan Castro in October 1994.

Ezra granted Hayami's request that he serve at the federal facility in Lompoc, Calif., which includes a less-restricted camp.

Earlier in the day, Ezra rejected government and defense pleas for probation for Officer Keith Flynn, 30, and sentenced him to six months in prison for his role in Folau's beating.

Ezra instructed both Hayami, free on a $150,000 signature bond, and Flynn, free on a $25,000 signature bond, to report to prison on Sept. 16.

A third officer, Russell Won, 35, is scheduled for sentencing next month in Folau's beating.

Won is free on a $75,000 signature bond. Flynn works a desk job at the Waikiki station, and Won works in the Training Division.

Priscilla Mills, Folau's attorney, said Folau was pleased with the sentences, even though Hayami's term was the lowest end of a guideline that allowed 57 to 71 months.

Folau was blood-soaked, handcuffed and comatose when police took him to Pali Momi emergency room.

He suffered a concussion, scalp lacerations and contusions after police arrested him for assaulting an officer at the Waipahu Recreational Center.

But Mills also said she was disappointed Hayami didn't apologize to the victims, adding: "The remorse is not there."

Hayami, who said he always wanted to be a police officer, apologized only to his family and community.

Michael Green, Hayami's attorney, said the Pearl City station was worse off for not having Hayami on the force.

He said Hayami was "superhuman for most of his life, but then he broke down."

Ezra, who said he had served in the military police il,27p8,3p4and had many mentors who were police officers, described the day as one of his saddest as a judge.

"Here, sadly, the defendant, a sworn Honolulu Police officer, spun out of control, not on just one occasion fueled by an incident of fear of the moment," he said. "But on several occasions, he intentionally and brutally exercised vigilante justice."

Ezra also commented on the mindset that could allow an officer to brutalize a citizen in front of junior officers, saying the behavior appeared to reflect not a "code of silence" but a "rule of silence."

But he also said he had no "ax to grind" and that the episodes did not shake his faith in the Honolulu force.

U.S. Attorney Steve Alm described the sentence as fair, sending a message that nobody is above the law.

Referring to Ezra's comment about a rule of silence, he said police naturally were reluctant to talk. But he said the case would make a difference.

He said government officials pursued the case after receiving an anonymous letter describing the Pearl City beating.

Green denied that a code of silence existed and said he didn't believe police officers should be reprimanded in the news media.

He said he didn't believe the anonymous letter came from a police officer.

As for the beating, he said spontaneous events happen on the force.

"You think they'll go away, and in this case it didn't go away."

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