Officer: Suspect yelled racial slur before assault

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Shannon Ke appears Thursday in Kona District Court for his preliminary hearing.

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Officer Randall Hancock on Thursday in Kona District Court recounts his encounter with Shannon Ke.

KEALAKEKUA — A Hawaii Island police officer testified Thursday that 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 in Kona District Court and recounted his encounter with the defendant on March 26 on the oceanfront of Huggo’s On The Rocks.

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Ke faces 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 testified that he arrived at the restaurant with his partner, officer Kaneala Abaya, and spoke to the manager.

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

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

Hancock testified Ke asked him if he was with the state 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.

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 underwater.

“It was long enough for me to realize if I didn’t do something, I was going to die,” Hancock recalled about 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. The officer told that once he was up, Ke started throwing punches again.

Hancock stated Ke pushed him under again. He got away, but he stated Ke came at him again.

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.

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

Ke was cuffed in the ocean and assisted to the rocks by the officers. Hancock stated the defendant continued to struggle as he was escorted out of the area.

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.

Hancock went to Kona Community Hospital for several injuries including abrasions to his left leg, tricep, hand and back, as well as a concussion.

Hancock stated he is still receiving treatment for injuries.

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Ke’s case was bound over to Kona Circuit Court, where he will face trial. An arraignment and plea hearing are slated for Wednesday.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.

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