Aaron Torres

BY JIM DOOLEY – A Teamsters Union supervisor on the “Hawaii Five-0” television production was

Aaron Torres

asphyxiated by police at his Nanakuli home in February and was in a “cocaine-induced excited delirium” when he died, according to the City Medical Examiner’s office.

Aaron “Spydah” Torres, 37, died of “mechanical asphyxia during police restraint” Feb. 20 and his body showed a “history of cocaine abuse,” the office said.

The Medical Examiner said the manner of Torres’ death was “homicide” and police are conducting an internal affairs investigation to determine if the use of lethal force against him was justified.

An attorney representing the Torres family, Michael Green, said the investigation could result in criminal charges against the officers involved.

“Citizens are not supposed to die in this type of confrontation,” said Green.

Police declined comment on the investigation.

The slightly built Torres  — he was 5’6” tall and weighed 160 pounds — was unarmed and held face-down on the ground outside his house by three police officers during a confrontation that lasted anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, according to family members who watched the incident in horror, said Green.

Torres’ wife Michele and brother Brian were among the witnesses, Green said.

“The family of this young man were just beside themselves when they watched the barrage on this young man until he died,” said Green.

“People (were) screaming out to stop, leave him alone and don’t do that,” Green said witnesses told him.

One officer held the back of Torres’ legs, another held his hands behind his back and a third had his arm around Torre’s neck, witnesses told Green.

“He’s not one of these guys who’s 6 feet four, 350 pounds. He was a little guy. And there were at least three police officers there for a long time,” said Green.

“These officers are trained to be able, within a minute or two, to take a suspect, even a much larger suspect, and reduce that person to a point where they can’t fight back,” said Green.

The full results of an autopsy of Torres have not been released because of the ongoing HPD investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death.

Officers went to Torres’ Kaukai Road home following a series of early morning telephone calls between Torres and emergency 911 operators.

After a first brief call from Torres to police at 4:27 a.m. ended abruptly, a police dispatcher called Torres back and asked him if he needed assistance.

“Yeah, help…help…help, please,” Torres said.

Teamsters driver Michael Gueso, who works on the Five-0 show, said last week that all he and other crew members know about the case is that Torres was alive when police arrived at the home and was dead when they left.

“We don’t know if we’re ever going to find out what really happened. It’s a sad situation,” he said.

Shortly after Torres died, police said he had been restrained to prevent him from harming himself.

“That should take 15 seconds,” said Green. “It happens all the time. They’re trained to do that. For this to go on so long, either their training was substandard… or they just reacted in a way where a young man lost his life.”

Torres was one of two transportation captains on the Five-0 television series, which just completed its second season on the CBS network.

Captains oversee the movement of a wide and expensive array of trucks, vans, trailers and specialty equipment used on a network television series like Hawaii Five-0.

Torres had a minor criminal record, with convictions for misdemeanor assault and three petty misdemeanors offenses.

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com