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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 19, 2009

Lawyer says video disputes police version of shooting of woman

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Yvonne Arsisto was in court today during a motion for a supervised release from jail.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A Taser gun video does not support the police version of what happened before officers shot Yvonne Arsisto with the Taser and a handgun, Arsisto’s lawyer said in court today.

Honolulu police began using Tasers equipped with video cameras last year and one of the officers who confronted Arsisto the evening of April 3 on South King Street carried one of the devices, Deputy Public Defender Marcus Landsberg said.
Arsisto, a 45-year-old homeless woman who has mental health problems, was carrying a metal skewer and another metal object in her hands and allegedly threatened the officers and lunged at them before one officer shot her with his Taser and another shot her with his handgun, according to police accounts of the incident.
But Landsberg said that on the video, Arsisto “takes 14 steps backwards” from police as one officer says to her, “We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
After Arsisto said, “No one’s going to get hurt here,” one of the officers is heard saying, “Just shoot her already,” followed by the Taser and gun shots, according to the defense lawyer.
One police bullet penetrated Arsisto’s abdomen and she was hospitalized for 22 days while recovering from the wound.
Arsisto entered Circuit Judge Richard Perkins’ court today using a metal walker. She is being held in jail, unable to post $40,000 bail.
The hearing was on a motion for Arsisto to be released to the care of her sister, Desiree O’Brian, pending trial in the case.
Deputy Prosecutor Kristine Yoo objected to the release, citing concerns about the defendant’s mental health.
Landsberg gave Perkins a copy of the Taser video and the judge said he would view it and rule on the motion later.
He said he shares the prosecutor’s concerns about Arsisto's mental health.
Landsberg said Arsisto is not receiving psychiatric treatment and that her mental health will not be an issue in the case because she did not commit the offenses she has been charged with.
Arsisto is charged with four counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.
Court records show that Arsisto entered a deferred guilty plea to a misdemeanor harassment charge in 2000. The charge was dismissed a year later.