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Inmate sues over jail riot that injured him

WAILUKU, Maui — An inmate who was injured in a Maui jail riot is suing the state Department of Public Safety.

Kevin Lifoifoi’s lawsuit alleges the department failed to keep prisoners safe in an overcrowded jail.

Lifoifoi suffered a broken jaw and other injuries when inmates broke out of cells and rioted in 2019 at Maui Community Correctional Center, his lawsuit says.

Inmates who set fires, tore phones off the walls, ransacked cells and brawled caused millions of dollars of damage, said DPS. Eighteen inmates were later found guilty during an administrative process and moved to an Oahu correctional facility.

The department knew or “should have reasonably been aware of the overcrowding and brewing inmate problems,” Lifoifoi’s lawsuit says.

The jail was 40% over capacity for a safe level of housing, the lawsuit says, which seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

DPS spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said Monday that the department hadn’t been served with the lawsuit.

“We have been advised not to comment on possible pending litigation,” she said.

Lifoifoi, 37, of Kahului, Maui, was sentenced to five years in prison for two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, second-degree theft and second-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, according to court records.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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