Officer: Suspect yelled racial slur before assault

  • Shannon Ke appears in District Court Thursday for his preliminary hearing. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Judge Margaret Masunaga listens to Officer Randall Hancock recount his encounter with Shannon Ke.

  • Officer Randall Hancock recounts his encounter with Shannon Ke at Ke’s preliminary hearing Thursday in District Court. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KEALAKEKUA — A Hawaii Police officer testified Thursday a reported disorderly man called him a “haole” before assaulting him outside a popular Kailua Village restaurant last month.

During a continued preliminary hearing for Shannon Ke, Officer Randall Hancock took the stand and told the Kona District Court about his encounter with the defendant on March 26 on the oceanfront of Huggo’s On The Rocks.

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Ke is facing charges of attempted first-degree murder with the enhancement of a hate crime as well as disorderly conduct, two counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest in connection with the incident.

Hancock, standing at 6 feet, 2 inches and 250 pounds, took the stand in plain clothes. He testified he arrived at the restaurant with his partner, Officer Kaneala Abaya, and spoke to the manager.

“The call was about a disorderly male yelling and screaming at restaurant goers,” Hancock stated.

Hancock recalled to the court the manager telling him and his partner about a “male party” seated on the rocks, yelling. After speaking to a second employee, Hancock stated he went to speak with the man, later identified as Ke, while his partner continued interviewing the employee.

Hancock testified Ke asked him if he was with Department of Land and Natural Resources or a police officer. He identified himself as a police officer. He told the court Ke stated the officer had to call DLNR first as he was not in police jurisdiction.

Hancock testified observing several items around Ke, including an open liquor bottle.

Hancock told the court Ke started yelling about the high water mark and he couldn’t do anything and shouldn’t be there. He added Ke stated the officer was picking on him “because of the dumb haoles.”

I “believe he was referring to the restaurant patrons,” Hancock stated.

The officer testified he told Ke he could address the open liquor bottle but didn’t. He just wanted to talk.

Hancock recalled Ke replying: “F—king haole — this is my land!”

“I told him I’m Chinese, Hawaiian, white and told him to calm down,” Hancock stated.

The officer told the court Ke then picked up the bottle and he asked him to put it down, as he was causing a scene.

At that point, Hancock told the court, the encounter with Ke turned physical. The defendant allegedly pushed him by his gun belt and grabbed his right leg.

They struggled on the rocks.

Hancock testified he tried to grab his Taser when he was pushed, and eventually they rolled down the lava rocks and into the ocean. The officer recalled Ke being in front of him when he turned around to try to get to the shoreline.

Hancock told the court the defendant yelled he was out of his jurisdiction and in DLNR’s and he could do what he wanted. At that point, Ke reportedly started throwing punches.

I “remember two clear ones to my face,” Hancock stated.

After that, Hancock told the court he felt both hands on his back, pushing him down under the water.

“It was long enough for me to realize if I didn’t do something, I was going to die,” Hancock recalled speaking of the length of time he spent submerged. “He was trying to keep me under the water.”

Hancock testified he started struggling, twisted his body and came back up for air. Once up, the officer told the court Ke started throwing punches again.

Hancock stated Ke pushed him back under again with his hands around his upper chest. He got away from him, but he stated Ke came at him again.

“Things were a little woozy,” Hancock told the court.

Hancock testified he was between Ke and the shore when he went to grab the defendant to see if he could get control of him. However, he was submerged a third time.

When he was able to get back out of the water, the officer told the court his partner Abaya was there telling Ke to stop.

“I could remember the defendant yelling and people at the restaurant yelling,” Hancock stated.

Hancock recalled Ke yelling at his partner: “Kaneala, you’re going to take this f—ker’s side? You traitor.”

Ke was cuffed with Abaya’s handcuffs in the ocean and assisted to the rocks by the officers. It was at that time, Hancock said, that Ke was told he was under arrest for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.

Hancock stated while Ke was on the rocks, he was yelling about prohibitions, high water marks and DLNR. The defendant continued to struggle with the officers as they worked to escort him out of the area.

“He was saying his wrist hurts and screaming police brutality,” Hancock testified.

The officer told the court Ke again assaulted him while walking him to the parking lot when he turned around and head-butted him in the nose.

“I was stunned,” Hancock stated. “Once officer Abaya got control of him I was done with him; I was just standing there.”

Hancock told the court his badge, handcuffs, portable radio and Taser were retrieved from the ocean floor. He did go to Kona Community Hospital for several injuries including abrasions to his left leg, tricep, hand and back and as well as a concussion.

Hancock stated he is still receiving treatment for injuries.

During cross-examination, Hancock testified the Huggo’s manager told him Ke typically fishes in that area and is usually calm.

Hancock stated he performed normal police procedure when he made contact with Ke on his own, adding when he initially approached the defendant he was mumbling and facing the ocean.

I “didn’t tell him he was suspected of anything,” Hancock recalled. “My goal wasn’t to arrest him, my goal was to talk to him and see if I could help him.”

However, Hancock testified after Ke yelled the “haole” comment and picked up the bottle, he informed the defendant he was under arrest for disorderly conduct.

Hancock stated with all his police gear, including his vest, gun, ammunition and baton, it adds 30 to 35 pounds to his weight, which could cause him to sink.

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Hancock added Ke did initially stop fighting when Abaya came to his aid in the ocean.

Ke’s case was bound over to 3rd Circuit Court where he will face trial, before which he will appear for an arraignment and plea on Wednesday.

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