Man Fatally Shot by Police after Mistaking Home for Public Temple Next Door
On the night of April 14, Lindani Myeni was fatally shot by Honolulu police after entering a home. Myeni may have mistakenly confused the home for a next-door public temple, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by his widow, Lindsay Myeni. Myeni was a father of two young children.
The night he was killed, Myeni was going to a nearby temple. His widow said that he had entered the temple’s location into his phone GPS, and the directions sent him to a house next to the temple. The Ring Security Camera footage released by attorneys representing Myeni’s wife shows Lindani Myeni wandering inside the house.
Shiying “Sabine” Wang and Da Ju “Dexter” Wang of New Jersey called 911 when Myeni entered into the home they were renting. Representatives of the Wangs alleged that the couple feared that they were being targeted after nationwide violence against Asian Americans. The 911 operator asked Sabine Wang when she called 911, after first faking a 911 call, whether Myeni was armed, threatening the couple or acting confused. Wang replied no.
Footage released by the Bickerton Law Group, which is representing the family of Lindani Myeni, show him arriving at the house, removing his shoes, and entering the home. He quickly leaves after his presence confuses its occupants. He is seen repeatedly apologizing. The woman in the house then calls 911. Over the phone, she sounds upset as Lindani Myeni is heard repeatedly saying, “I’m sorry” to the couple of tourists who were renting in the building.
In the video, Myeni appears to go back to his car after putting his shoes back on. As Honolulu police arrive, Sabine Wang is heard shouting, “That’s him! He’s still in the car!”
The officer is heard yelling, “Get on the ground now!”
In the police body camera video, Lindani Myeni can be heard asking, “who are you?” in a seemingly confused voice. Shouting is heard and then police use a stun gun on him before fatally shooting him four times. The family’s lawsuit states that Myeni could not have known it was police shining bright lights in his eyes that night and likely mistook the house for a next-door temple open to the public.
In a press conference in April following the shooting, Honolulu police defended the officers’ actions and maintains that they were acting within their rights. Acting Deputy Chief Allan Nagata acknowledged officers didn’t identify themselves before shooting, but said it was clear they were police, even in the dark. He said the officers were in a “fight for their lives.”
However, Myeni’s family’s lawyer, Bridget Morgan-Bickerton, said the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) had tried to convince the public that this was a burglary and that Myeni was acting erratically. However, doorbell video footage shows that not only was the HPD alleging a false narrative but was also attempting to block Myeni’s widow from subpoenaing the videos directly from the owner. Myeni’s wife Lindsay alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit that police were motivated by racial discrimination against an unarmed black man.