BY JIM DOOLEY – A state probationer suing Honolulu police for alleged civil rights violations is facing new criminal charges after police reported last month that they caught him in the act of raping a 13-year-old girl, according to court records.
Dewitt Lamar Long, 45, filed suit against the HPD last year, claiming officers violated his civil rights during a January 2010 traffic stop in downtown Honolulu.
Records in that case and other court files show that Long has a long history with law enforcement here. Police suspected him of membership in a violent street gang called the “San Fran Crew” and he had been involved in “numerous harassment cases” involving a juvenile female, the court records show.
Last month, just days before a federal judge allowed Long’s civil suit to continue, police arrested him on a charge of sexually assaulting an underage girl.
Two friends of the victim called officers to a home in the Iroquois Point housing subdivision near Pearl Harbor, saying that their friend was being raped inside the house by a man who called himself “D,” according to a police affidavit.
Police Officer Corinne Rivera heard “a female voice moaning” inside the house and when she looked in a window, she saw Long “performing sexual intercourse” on the victim, according to a court files.
Rivera banged her hand on the side of the house and yelled, “D! This is the police. Come to the door,” the affidavit said.
Long ran out of the house and was arrested.
He was charged with sexually assaulting the girl, then was charged with kidnapping and raping another underage victim who came forward to police and said Long had attacked her a year earlier in a motel near the airport.
He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Thalia Murphy said in court papers that she will seek an extended term of imprisonment for Long because he is a “persistent offender.”
Court-appointed defense attorney Jeffrey Hawk has filed a motion for bail reduction that says Long has been a Hawaii resident for 14 years and is penniless.
Court records show that Long was convicted of felony drug and firearms offenses in California before coming to Hawaii in the 1990’s.
He has been treated at least twice for drug addiction at the U.S. Vets facility in Kalaeloa.
Long has been arrested nearly 100 times since moving to Hawaii and has used dozens of aliases, records show. Traffic court records list nearly 100 past charges against him.
Court files show that Long has been supervised by state probation officers for the past 12 years and has repeatedly avoided prison time despite numerous arrests and contacts with the law during that period.
Long was convicted in a jury trial in 2000 of theft and drug possession and was sentenced to five years of probation by Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto.
After repeated probation violations – his supervisor said Long was arrested 14 times for contempt of court, five times for misdemeanor drug charges and three times for disorderly conduct – Long was resentenced by Sakamoto to another five-year probation term in 2004.
Sakamoto transferred Long to HOPE probation in 2007. The program – HOPE stands for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement – is supposed to combine close supervision of offenders with immediate, brief jail terms for violations.
The program was begun and is largely controlled by another Circuit Judge, Steven Alm, who has built it into hugely successful operation that has been emulated in other jurisdictions around the country.
While still on probation in the 1999 case, Long was charged in 2006 with selling two $20 rocks of cocaine to undercover police officers in the Chinatown area of Honolulu. He was eventually convicted of a cocaine possession charge.
There is no indication in court files that Long’s conviction in the 2006 case affected his probation sentence from the 1999 case.
He was sentenced to straight probation in the 2006 case and then was transferred to Alm’s HOPE calendar in 2010.
The two juveniles were allegedly raped while Long was in the HOPE program.
Papers filed in the federal court civil case disclose that Long has been the subject of HPD interest for years.
Police officer Scott Nakasone, who was involved in the 2010 traffic stop of Long, testified that “in 2005, I was involved in one of his arrests on numerous harassment charges against, I believe, a juvenile female.”
Nakasone said the traffic stop occurred after police were “doing surveillance on gang members” and Long “started doing counter-surveillance on us.”
Asked by Long’s lawyer if he considered Long to be a gang member, Nakasone said, “At the very least as an associate.”
Long had been seen “numerous times interacting with known gang members,” said Nakasone.
He identified the gang as the “San Fran Crew.”
Members of that gang were responsible for the March 2009 street corner murder of Joseph Peneueta, 35, in Chinatown, according to state and federal court records.
The civil rights suit alleges that police had no probable cause to stop Long’s car on Punchbowl Street.
The suit alleges that officers dragged Long from his car and beat him after they falsely claimed to have seen a knife in the car.
A weapons charge filed against Long after the traffic stop was later dismissed in state court.