KALAELOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Christopher Cordeiro said it was around 2 a.m. on June 29, 2009. He was leaving one of his favorite night fishing spots when a vehicle began aggressively tailgating him on Coral Sea Road in Kalaeloa.
“It was terrible. It was like a nightmare. A living nightmare is what it was,” he said.
Cordeiro said when he reached Roosevelt Road and pulled over, Navy Federal Police officers converged. He said one of them drew his weapon.
“He comes to the side of me and orders and demands that I get out of my vehicle,” he said. “He was off to my left shoulder. He told me to get out of my vehicle or he was going to shoot me in the head.”
Cordeiro said he wasn’t speeding, trespassing or trying to flee. He tried to call Honolulu police because he was on city property.
“After I tried to use my cell phone to call emergency, 911, they ordered me to put my phone down. And that’s when I really felt in danger,” he said.
He said he was pepper sprayed, handcuffed and held down for an hour, without knowing why he was stopped.
“They never asked me for identification, documentation, or paperwork at all. They were more concerned with getting me out of the vehicle and laying on the ground with my hands spread apart face down,” he said.
He was charged with assault and driving without a license. The officers said he had a gun and threatened to shoot them and tried to run down one of them with his car. But all charges were dropped.
Cordeiro sued the federal government and the officers.
“This is unacceptable behavior by professional DOD personnel. And it needs to be stopped,” he said.
Attorney Bernie Bervar represents one of the officers. He told Hawaii News Now that evidence shows Cordeiro refused to stop for Navy Police officers.
“His behavior was such that the officers were justified in their actions,” he said.
Cordeiro said he didn’t pull over immediately because the road was dark and deserted, and he was driving to an area with street lights.
He and his family believe so strongly in their case they sold their home to pay attorney fees.
“We’re just living day to day thinking of when will justice be served. It’s hard for us. Really hard,” he said.
Cordeiro is a Staff Sergeant with the Hawaii Air National Guard and crew chief for the F22 Raptors. He has no criminal record and no idea when he’ll have his day in court.