Last month, the family of Wallace Nakama contacted KHON2 after learning there would be no trial for Nakama’s death because of a mistake by the Honolulu city prosecutor.
In 2012, Nakama died from injuries he suffered after he was struck while he crossed Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach.
After KHON2 started asking questions, the prosecutor admitted to a lapse in procedure, including lost paperwork. A spokesman for the office apologized on behalf of city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and promised changes.
Now, one month later, the Honolulu City Council has asked that the prosecutor appear at a committee hearing to discuss the promised changes in procedure.
KHON2 contacted members of the Nakama family, and they agreed to share their story with the city council. They learned the details of the prosecutor’s lapse in procedure when KHON2 first sat down with them last month.
The prosecutor’s mistake allowed the statute of limitations to expire with no chance to take the case to criminal or even civil court.
“As public servants, they should follow through with their cases and not put us off to the side,” said Ron Nakama, the victim’s son.
The item that appears on the council’s executive matters and legal affairs committee agenda speaks to procedures at the city prosecutor’s office. But what city council members really want to know is what the prosecutor is doing to prevent another situation like the Wallace Nakama case.
Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, who represents the Ewa Beach area, is calling for the prosecutor to appear after she saw the Nakamas’ story on KHON2 last month.
“I want to thank you and KHON2 for bringing this to our attention,” she said. “We want to make sure that no family suffers this injustice again, so we are very thankful.”
“What can they do at this point?” said Karen Okubo, the victim’s younger sister. “It might not be to our satisfaction, but for my brother’s life, I feel they should do something.”
The victim’s son and daughter told KHON2 they would like traffic lights installed at the scene of the pedestrian accident that claimed their father’s life.
“At least it shows not only for his life but for the future ahead to prevent this from happening again,” Ron Nakama said.
“I want this case to be the exception,” said Debbie Nakama, the victim’s daughter. “Losing the files is one thing. We didn’t want to hear that. It’s very unsettling.”
The hearing will be held in the council committee room at Honolulu Hale at 1 p.m. Tuesday.