Police In Honolulu Fatally Shot Black Man Who’d Moved There For Safety

Police in Honolulu, Hawaii shot and killed Lindani Myeni on April 14, three months after he and his wife moved to the island to raise their children, believing Hawaii would be safer than any other state. The 29-year-old father was a native of South Africa and had two children with his wife Lindsay Myeni, who is white and grew up in Hawaii. The couple left a predominately white Denver, Colorado to be somewhere more diverse, and what they had hoped, safer, for their Black children

“We never thought anything like this would ever happen there,” Lindsay Myeni told The Associated Press. “We were refreshed to be back somewhere that is so diverse,” she added. 

Police say Lindani Myeni entered a home that wasn’t his, and ignored police commands to get on the ground. In clips of body camera footage, three shots are heard before an officer exclaims, “Police.” 

According to Myeni, she and her husband had visited cultural spaces earlier in the day and prayed together, because something seemed off and he was stressed. The widow believes her husband, who was Christian and connected to his Zulu culture, was seeking a spiritual space in their new neighborhood and mistook the home for a Hare Krishna temple located next door.

There have been some local gatherings and protests held over Myeni’s killing, but the muted response has been seen by some as a result of the stigma around Hawaii. 

“When you’re told you live in a paradise and you point out that it’s not paradise for people of color, that makes people uncomfortable,” Kenneth Lawson, a Black professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law told ABC News. The police-involved fatal shooting “would have generated mass protests in any other American city,” Lawson added. 

According to US Census data, just 3.5 percent of Hawaii’s 1.5 million residents are Black, yet more than seven percent of the people police used force against are Black. 

Lindsay Myeni filed a lawsuit against Honolulu, claiming officers were “motivated by racial discrimination towards people of Mr. Myeni’s African descent.” 

At the time of his death, Lindani Myeni was wearing his umqhele, a traditional Zulu headband, and had left his shoes in the car, indicating to his widow that he’d gone into the home with intentions to pray. 

Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001

For more mental health resources, click HERE

Photo: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content