Police Officer Sues Honolulu For Not Paying To Defend Him In Assault Lawsuit

Former HPD officer Vincent Morre, in the white shirt, was caught on surveillance video attacking two men while searching for a fugitive.

Former Honolulu police officer Nelson Tamayori says he is looking for a fair shake, and this week he sued the city he once worked for in an attempt to get it.

Tamayori worked for a Honolulu Police Department crime reduction unit as a plainclothes officer, conducting in-depth investigations and surveillance.

On Sept. 5, 2014, Tamayori was searching for a fugitive with his partner, Vincent Morre, and reserve officer Joseph Becera inside a game room on Hopaka Street near Ala Moana.

Morre lost his temper and roughed up two men inside the game room as Tamayori and Becera stood by and watched. The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.

The three officers eventually pleaded guilty to federal crimes. Morre admitted to civil rights violations while Tamayori and Becera pleaded to felony charges for not immediately reporting the crime to the proper authorities.

Becera had also been charged with making a false statement after he told FBI investigators that he didn’t actually witness the attack at the game room.

In 2016, the two men Morre attacked, Francisco Franson and Jordan Topinio, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the three officers and the city.

Tamayori and Becera asked the Honolulu Police Commission to pick up their legal tabs, which is a benefit allowed to police officers under Hawaii state law.

But while the commission approved footing Becera’s legal bills, the agency denied Tamayori’s request despite the fact the two former officers were in the same place at the same time.

Tamayori’s lawsuit, filed in Hawaii Circuit Court, is now challenging that decision, arguing that he is just as entitled to taxpayer-funded legal counsel as Becera.

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