Pair accused of assaulting police in court

  • NICKNAS HARTMAN
  • JOHNNY HARTMAN
  • FRITZ HARTMAN
  • JUNEL HARTMAN

CORRECTION 12-1-2019: In a previous version of this story, the first name of Officer Dustin Chaves was incorrect, while Nicknas Hartman’s last name was incorrect in one mention. The Tribune-Herald regrets the errors.

Two Hilo men accused of assaulting police officers in what police described as “a large affray” at “a loud party” estimated at 40-50 people Monday night in Hilo made their initial court appearances Friday.

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Hilo District Judge Jeffrey Hawk ordered 24-year-old Nicknas Hartman to appear at 2 p.m. Tuesday for a preliminary hearing and scheduled a preliminary hearing for 39-year-old Johnny Hartman for 2 p.m. Dec. 7.

Both pleaded not guilty to a number of charges — Nicknas Hartman to two counts each of first-degree assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, second-degree escape and failure to disperse, plus a single count of resisting arrest.

Johnny Hartman is charged with single counts of first-degree assault on a police officer, second-degree escape, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.

According to court documents filed by police, officers responded three times to the residence in the 1500 block of Kinoole Street in response to noise complaints. On the third response, police say several individuals attempted to prevent police from placing Nicknas Hartman in handcuffs, and officers were able to place one cuff on Johnny Hartman “prior to being struck and dragged to the ground.”

The officer, Dustin Chaves, identified three individuals involved in the alleged assault as Nicknas and Johnny Hartman, and a 14-year-old juvenile boy.

During the brawl, Chaves and Officer Justin Dodo were assaulted, with Dodo reporting Nicknas Hartman choked him, documents state. One was taken to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room where he was treated and released while the other was treated at the scene by medics.

Both Nicknas and Johnny Hartman allegedly attempted to flee the scene and according to police, an officer used a Taser to subdue Nicknas Hartman, although documents don’t identify the officer who deployed the Taser.

During Friday’s hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Arthur Indiola requested supervised release without bail for Nicknas Hartman so he can outpatient physical therapy and take medication, although it wasn’t specified why either was necessary.

Burns said Hartman is pending a habitual DUI charge and that his blood alcohol content that night was 0.208, more than twice the legal threshold for intoxication, plus another DUI charge. “He has two prior convictions for DUI,” Burns said.

Hawk denied supervised release for Nicknas Hartman and maintained his bail at $23,000 bail.

“He’s accused of assault on a law enforcement officer while he was intoxicated. While this is a Class C (felony) offense, I do believe this is a serious offense and does have public safety implications,” the judge said.

The judge reduced bail for Johnny Hartman from $22,000 to $1,500.

Two others, 30-year-old Fritz Hartman and 18-year-old Junel Hartman were also arrested and charged during Monday’s alleged melee, the former with disorderly conduct, obstructing government operations, resisting arrest and failure to disperse, the latter with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

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Fritz Hartman’s bail was set at $1,750 and Junel Hartman’s at $750. It’s unclear if either or both posted bail but neither appeared in court on Friday.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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