Family of man who died after theft detention sues


POSTED: Friday, January 15, 2010

The family of a California man who died while being subdued for allegedly stealing beer from a store in Waikiki filed a lawsuit this week in the Circuit Court.

The family of Humberto Murillo is suing the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort Spa; ABC Stores; the ABC store manager; a visitor from Garden Grove, Calif.; and two Hyatt security guards.

Murillo, 33, was vacationing from San Fernando, Calif., with his wife, Sabrina Medina, and their three children, ages 8, 11 and 12, when he was killed July 6. They were here celebrating their son's graduation from elementary school and Murillo's 34th birthday.

The suit alleges that the four men, namely the store manager, the visitor and the security guards, “;applied unreasonable and excessive force for an unreasonable length of time to Humberto, thereby resulting in his asphyxiation and ultimate death.”;

The suit also alleges that Hyatt and ABC are liable for the negligent acts of its agents and employees, and the hotel has a duty to aid and protect any and all members of the public who enter its premises.

“;Defendant ABC had a duty to exercise reasonable judgment in properly training its employee so as not to injure or enhance an injury to a customer or member of the public,”; the suit says.

Similarly, the suit says Hyatt also had a similar duty to properly train its employees.


The city Medical Examiner's Office ruled Murillo's death a homicide. But the Prosecutor's Office said there was no probable cause to pursue charges against the men who, according to the autopsy report, held Murillo down on the ground by applying their weight to his back while he lay on his stomach.

The autopsy showed he was not breathing and was foaming at the mouth. He was taken to Straub Clinic & Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterward. He died of mechanical asphyxiation, which was confirmed by autopsy results that showed pinpoint bleeding in his chest, shoulder and eyes.

Police said the store manager ran after Murillo for failing to pay for two 12-packs of beer, caught up with him on the second floor of the Hyatt and demanded a receipt. Murillo then allegedly assaulted the store manager, who called for help, and a 20-year-old visitor helped to subdue him.

The autopsy shows Murillo also suffered bruises and abrasions around his eyes, jaw, shoulder, arm, body and abdomen.

Medina's California attorney, Robert Partain, said Medina cannot understand why her husband had to die and how her husband, who did not even drink beer, allegedly stole beer.

He said his client is suing in part to learn the truth about what happened because there have been conflicting stories from the people involved.