Lindani Myeni was a Black South African man who, at his wife’s suggestion, moved to Honolulu on her false assumption that there was no racism in Hawaii. Within months of the family’s relocation, Myeni was killed at the hands of the Honolulu Police Department. Yet, his widow has received little support from Hawaii-based activists.
Myeni, 29, was a husband and father who, on April 14, was killed by police in Honolulu after he entered a home that did not belong to him. The Associated Press reported that police said that Myeni entered a home, took his shoes off and took a seat. When the homeowner called the police, and they arrived. He refused to follow orders and attacked the officers. One of the officers reportedly suffered a concussion.
By April 30, the Honolulu police released the audio of the homeowner’s call when she discovered Myeni in her home.
Within days of her husband’s death, Myeni filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Honolulu and the police officers involved. Within a month of Lindani Myeni’s death, the city requested a gag order to prevent the lawyers representing the deceased’s family from doing anything that would taint a jury or cause harm to the officers involved, such as speaking to the media or accessing personnel files.
But one of the things on Lindsay Myeni’s mind is how there has been minimal outrage surrounding his death at the hands of the police. Myeni was unarmed when he was killed, a recurring theme for activists who protest killings with a racial framework. Lindsay, who is white, thinks that her and her husband’s race and Hawaii being neither a white nor Black majority has led to the lack of support.
“White people don’t come from Hawaii, stereotypically. Black people don’t come from Hawaii, stereotypically,” Myeni told The AP.
Daphne Barbee-Wooten, former president of the African American Lawyers Association of Hawaii, said that African-Americans on the island are largely outraged about the incident. Still, they don’t really “take to the street” there.
Ethan Caldwell, an Asian and Black biracial professor, noted that Black presence has been on the island before it was annexed, but anti-Blackness still lives.
Ironically, as Lindsay works through her lawsuit, she has decided to ex-patriate to South Africa to avoid racism. She is in the process of extending her visa and will apply for permanent residency through her son. Myeni’s in-laws in South Africa may garner the support she needs.
Anti-blackness is one of the oldest global currencies whose value has not depreciated.
In late May, a judge ordered the Honolulu Police Department to hand over crucial evidence to the Myeni family’s attorney, including bodycam footage.