Study: Honolulu police use force most on Native Hawaiians

HONOLULU — A Honolulu Police Department study found that its officers used the most force against Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

The study presented on Wednesday found that 34.5% of all use of force incidents occurred against Native Hawaiians.


Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were also the group most likely to be arrested by Honolulu officers. The ethnic group represented 38.1% of total arrests in 2019.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprised just 10% of the state in 2019. The police department studied use of force cases from 2015 to 2019.

The study, the first of its kind for the police department, also said most use of force cases occurred in the downtown area, Hawaii News Now reported.

More men were subject to use of force than women over the study’s timeframe. The majority of total cases occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.


The report indicates that use of force cases hiked substantially in 2017, but HPD Assistant Chief Rade Vanic said the increase was due in part to a new reporting system that provided further documentation when force was used.

Honolulu police were most likely to use pepper spray as their weapon of choice, with a Taser the second-most common. The baton, firearm and neck restraint were used almost evenly over the five-year study.

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