Disturbing video footage of a South African man’s final moments have been released, shedding more light onto what happened the evening a Black father ended up dead at the hands of police in Hawaii.
Lindani Myeni, who was born in Empangeni in the Kwazulu-Natal province of South Africa, moved to his wife Lindsay Myeni’s native Hawaii in hopes of providing a safe, stable foundation for their family. Three months after relocating from Denver to Honolulu, Lindani was killed by Hawaii police.
In the Ring doorbell footage below, which was obtained and released by lawyers representing the Myeni family, Lindani Myeni can be seen walking up to the residence and stopping to take off his shoes within seconds of an Asian couple described in the suit as tourists arriving at the multi-unit columned building. Less than a minute after he enters, Myeni is seen exiting, and viewers can hear the woman call 911, saying, “he break in my house,” as Lindani appears to try to assuage their fears at the front door.
During the 911 call, the woman can be heard telling the 911 operator that Myeni didn’t appear to have any weapons and was not behaving aggressively toward the couple. When the Ring footage cuts back in, he can be seen apologizing to the couple multiple times, telling them, “I know you guys though,” and asking to see the phone. After speaking to the couple for a few more moments, Lindani walks to the patio column where he left his shoes and puts them on as he leaves the residence, apologizing one final time.
The couple continue to report the incident and the male can be heard telling the operator that Lindani apologized.
A statement from the lawyers who released the video said Honolulu police “tried to convince the public that this was a burglary and that Lindani Myeni was acting erratically, but the doorbell video we have now obtained from the owner shows that HPD knew all along these stories were untrue.”
The Ring footage next depicts the woman walking back and forth through the door of the residence telling the 911 dispatcher how fearful she is of Lindani well after he walked away from the residence to his car, a frantic call that culminated with her screaming “That’s him!” as she pointed out Lindani to arriving police.
Unredacted bodycam footage shows the officers confronting Lindani, who had remained in his car nearby. The three cops run toward him yelling “Get on the ground now!” to which Lindani, now out of his car, responds, “Who are you?” The shaky bodycam video shows a scuffle start within seconds, a taser deployed, then someone yells, “Shoot him” before a shot rings out. Another voice is heard yelling “F**k you,” followed by three more gunshots, and only then an officer yelling “Police!”
The police account of the April 14 incident, according to AP, was that after Myeni entered the residence, “he sat down and took off his shoes, prompting a frightened occupant to call 911. Outside the house, he ignored commands to get on the ground and physically attacked officers, leaving one with a concussion.”
Lindsay Myeni alleges that the police reaction was “motivated by racial discrimination towards people of Mr. Myeni’s African descent” and has filed a lawsuit against the city of Honolulu. The widow claims that she spoke with her husband earlier that evening and believes he mistook the residence for a Hare Krishna temple located next to the residence he entered. Because Lindani was wearing his umqhele, a traditional Zulu men’s headband, and took his shoes off at the door, Lindsay feels he entered the home with “respectful intentions,” and serves as proof that he made a mistake.
“We never thought anything like this would ever happen there,” said Lindsay Myeni, who is currently residing in her husband’s hometown. As a result of the tragedy, the widow “broke up with my country and my state” and “just can’t fathom” returning to Hawaii anytime soon.
She currently plans to apply for permanent residency in South Africa.