Video shows closer view of soldier's deadly encounter with police

By Andrew Pereira
Published On: Aug 06 2014 02:49:12 AM HST
Updated On: Jun 19 2014 09:21:18 PM HST

Surveillance video captures the never-seen-before look at the deadly showdown between a Schofield soldier and police in Waikiki.

Click here for Andrew Pereira's article.

HONOLULU -

On the day police officers shot and killed Schofield Barracks soldier Gregory Gordon video taken by a resident of a nearby high-rise provided an overhead view of the deadly encounter.

Click here to watch the raw surveillance video.

KITV4 recently obtained a second video from the Honolulu Police Department that shows the confrontation from a much closer vantage point. Honolulu criminal defense attorney Don Wilkerson believes the video provides new evidence that police did not have to use deadly force to stop Gordon.

"That becomes important I think in review of the case because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that they look at the immediacy of the situation, whether or not the suspect poses an immediate (and) significant threat of death or serious bodily injury," said Wilkerson.

Gordon, 22, of Ashford, Alabama, was killed last year in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 after he refused police orders to stop his Dodge Ram pickup. The incident began at about 4 a.m. when officers on foot patrol witnessed Gordon driving the wrong way on Nahua Street.

Once surrounded along the Ala Wai Boulevard just before Kaiolu Street, Gordon reversed at least twice and rammed several patrol cars. Police did not have a reason to believe Gordon was armed, although a replica handgun was later found in his pickup. Wilkerson believes that's another critical point when judging how police acted.

"That becomes very relevant because the Ninth Circuit has also said they don't look at things with 20/20 hindsight. They look at the reasonableness off the officer on the scene," said Wilkerson.

KITV4 obtained the new video of the police shooting through a Freedom of Information request. The video was taken from a security camera mounted on the wall of a private residence near where the shooting occurred.

Gordon's parents, Todd and Tracey Gordon, acknowledge their son disobeyed police orders and had a blood alcohol level of 0.196, which is 2.5 times the legal limit. But like Wilkerson, they believe police used excessive force.

"I don't understand why they couldn't do something else besides shoot him," Tracey Gordon said in a telephone interview with KITV4. "He couldn't move his car very far forward or backwards."
The Gordons have hired Alabama attorney Douglas Bates and are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Honolulu Police Department. The soldier's parents say their son was suffering from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder after having recently returned to Oahu from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

"We had to drive to Texas from Alabama once when he was on leave and he started freaking out because he saw some garbage on the side of the road and he thought they were bombs," said Tracey Gordon. "It was really bad."

An internal HPD investigation into the four officers involved in the shooting was completed last October. Police won't say whether any of the officers were reprimanded, but all four have been returned to duty and two of the officers received certificates of merit. Police Chief Louis Kealoha refused to comment about the shooting when approached by KITV4.

Last month, the Honolulu Liquor Commission fined the owners of the Nashville Waikiki $2,000 after they were found guilty of engaging in practices that promoted Gordon's excessive consumption of alcohol on the day he was killed. According to the commission's investigation, the young soldier ordered more than 30 alcoholic drinks over the course of two-and-a half hours.

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