Chilling audio reveals the moment a crying woman dialed 911 to report a black man has walked into her Airbnb in Honolulu minutes before police arrived and shot dead the South Africa Idol contestant and Zulu ‘prince’.
Lindani Myeni, a married father-of-two from the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa, was shot and killed by Honolulu Police officers back on April 14 after he allegedly entered a property in the Nuuanu neighborhood.
Officials released the 10-minute 911 call that led to the fatal encounter, with the female occupant crying and wailing in distress as she tells the dispatcher ‘I don’t know him’.
Police said Myeni, who lived down the road from the property, followed the woman into the home, took off his shoes and exhibited ‘odd’ behavior.
Myeni then allegedly ‘charged’ at and assaulted the three cops who arrived on the scene with the police chief saying their ‘lives were in jeopardy’, before they fired four shots at him.
Myeni’s family has cast doubts on this version of events with their attorney claiming Myeni had peacefully left the Airbnb prior to the cops’ arrival when the renters made him unwelcome due to his race.
Chilling audio reveals the moment a crying woman dialed 911 to report a black man has walked into her Airbnb in Honolulu minutes before police arrived and shot dead the South Africa Idol contestant and Zulu ‘prince’. Lindani Myeni in his South Africa Idol audition
The Airbnb on Coelho Way in the Nuuanu neighborhood where the married father-of-two from the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa was shot and killed by Honolulu Police officers on April 14
They have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the three cops involved in his death, claiming wrongful death, negligence and assault and battery.
The suit claims both the renters of the home at 91 Coelho Way and the officers racially discriminated against Myeni because he was black, with the cops ‘treating him as less than a human being.’
Police bodycam footage shows none of the officers identified themselves as police until they had already fired three gunshots at Myeni.
Myeni’s American wife has also insisted he was not a violent person and has suggested his actions may have been the result of cultural differences after he moved to Hawaii in January.
Myeni’s death came one week after Honolulu Police officers also shot and killed 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap during a car chase on April 5.
Both males killed in the officer-involved shootings are thought to have been unarmed at the time.
The 10-minute 911 audio begins with the dispatcher asking for the address from the caller, identified as Shiying ‘Sabine’ Wang.
Wang was staying in the property with her husband Da Ju ‘Dexter’ Wang at the time.
The caller does not respond but inaudible voices are heard in the background.
The woman is then heard shouting: ‘Please leave.’
The dispatcher asks again for the address and name, which the caller then gives.
‘Someone entered my house,’ the woman says.
The dispatcher asks: ‘Do you know who they are?’
The woman replies: ‘He said Lindan from South Africa.’
‘Do you know who he is personally, do you know this man?’ the dispatcher asks.
‘I don’t know him. I don’t know this man,’ she replies.
Lindani Myeni with his wife and two children. Officials released the 10-minute 911 call that led to the fatal encounter, with the female occupant crying and wailing in distress as she tells the dispatcher ‘I don’t know him’ after he entered the Airbnb
The dispatcher asks about Myeni’s clothing and race.
‘What is he Asian, white, black?’ the dispatcher asks.
‘He’s in the house,’ the woman replies.
‘I don’t know if he knows the owner or not. He just comes in and says some strange [inaudible].’
The dispatcher repeats ‘is he white, is he black, is he local’ to which the caller repeats: ‘I don’t know him.’
The woman later confirms he is black and describes that he is wearing a black T-shirt and jeans and is wandering around in the house.
When asked if Myeni has any weapons on him or is yelling at her or other occupants, the woman says ‘no’.
‘I don’t know why he… he tried to go outside… I don’t know,’ she says.
The dispatcher tells her to go outside to wait for police, but the woman says ‘he is inside but he is close to the front door’ so they cannot get out.
She later says – around four minutes in – that Myeni has gone outside.
The caller’s voice becomes less audible throughout the call as she appears to become more hysterical and upset.
Around five minutes into the call, officers arrive on the scene and the woman is heard shouting ‘that’s him’ repeatedly as she sobs uncontrollably.
An officer’s voice is heard ordering Myeni to the ground before shots ring out.
‘The officer shot him. He’s attacking the cop,’ the woman says.
‘Oh my God. I just heard shots fired,’ the dispatcher says.
The dispatcher tells the woman to hide in the bathroom and that more officers are on the way.
Myeni was taken to The Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds where he later died from his injuries.
One cop was hospitalized with major facial injuries and concussion following the incident while the other two also sustained injuries.
Honolulu police body camera footage of the fatal shooting shows three gunshots rang out before an officer says ‘police’
The officer yells repeatedly for Myeni to get on the ground. Shots ring out and then after a pause, an officer said, ‘police’
James J. Bickerton, the attorney who is representing Myeni’s family in the lawsuit, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser are trying to depose the woman who called 911, her husband and the owner of the home – identified as James H. Hall – to question them over the incident.
Bickerton said Myeni peacefully spoke with the Wangs and left the property, accusing the couple of calling 911 and reacting how they did due to his race.
‘After Mr. Myeni arrived by car and removed his shoes upon entering the transient accommodations house on the Property, Mr. Myeni became aware that he was unwelcome and left the house peacefully,’ the suit filed on April 22 claims.
‘The response by the occupants of the Property was motivated by Mr. Myeni’s race and constituted racial discrimination in public accommodation.’
The attorney said, as an Airbnb rental, discrimination by persons owning, operating or controlling the establishment on grounds of race is illegal.
Before Myeni’s shooting, police had been called to numerous other incidents at the Airbnb including a vehicle break-in and the property was also subject to seven complaints from 2019 to 2020 of it being used as an illegal short-term rental.
The suit also claims the responding officers treated Myeni differently because of his race.
‘This conduct towards Mr. Myeni, treating him as less than a human being regardless of whatever alleged ‘crime’ was being investigated and callously not deigning to explain themselves, their identity, or their purpose, was motivated by racial discrimination towards people of Mr. Myeni’s African descent,’ it reads.
Myeni’s family claim had peacefully left the Airbnb (above) prior to the cops’ arrival when the renters made him unwelcome due to his race
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard has denied race was a factor in Myeni’s death previously saying it was ‘nothing to do with race’ but insisted that the officers’ lives were ‘in jeopardy.’
‘I think what we need to remember is it had nothing to do with race. It had to do with behavior and the fact that this person seriously injured the officers and their lives were in jeopardy,’ Ballard said.
The family’s suit also claims the officers tried to take Myeni ‘by surprise’ as they did not announce they were law enforcement officers.
‘Unbeknown to Mr. Myeni, the police decided to treat this non-violent and peaceful entry into, and departure from, a place of public accommodation, as a crime in progress, and arrived at the scene without lights, sirens or other indicators of their presence in an apparent attempt to take the ‘perpetrator’ by surprise,’ the suit reads.
‘As there was no moon present in the sky at the time and this was a residential street in Nuuanu, it was dark.
‘As Mr. Myeni stood still, unarmed, on the side of the driveway just a few feet off the street, one of the Officers, while hysterical screams of ‘that’s him’ emanated from a person standing in the doorway of the house on the Property, suddenly shone the flashlight directly in Mr. Myeni’s eyes and held a pistol in the flashlight beam pointed at Mr. Myeni.’
It continues: ‘At the same time, without ever announcing that he was an officer or using the word ‘police,’ or stating his purpose, that officer shouted several times in a rough, aggressive, disrespectful, and threatening manner ‘get on the ground.’
The family also claim the Honolulu Police Department has also refused to hand over Myeni’s cellphone to either them or to prosecutors probing the man’s death.
‘What are they hiding?,’ Bickerton said to the Star-Advertiser.
The lawyer said the family wants to both retrieve personal family photos and try to use the call and map history on the phone to piece together the night’s events.
Officials released clips from two of the three bodycams worn by cops from the night of the incident; a third was not activated during the struggle.
The clips released show three gunshots rang out before an officer says, ‘police.’
Myeni (pictured with his wife). They also claim cops treated ‘him as less than a human being’ due to being black
Myeni pictured with his wife. The family filed a suit on April 22 against the cops and the city
Acting Deputy Chief Allan Nagata acknowledged police did not initially identify themselves but said: ‘They were in the fight for their lives. They were very brave. They didn’t shoot or discharge the firearm right away. This was not a case of overreaction.’
‘They didn’t identify themselves, but hey, let’s be honest. They’re in uniform, right? They’re coming there with the police cars. Although it is dark, it’s pretty clear.’
Myeni had assaulted the officers, punching one of them until the officer briefly lost consciousness, Nagata said.
The first clip – which is badly lit – begins with a woman crying and telling an officer: ‘That’s him.’
Myeni, who did not have criminal history, is then seen in the driveway of the home. An officer tells him: ‘Get on the ground now.’
After Myeni walks towards the cop a struggle ensues with the officer filming the altercation appearing to be knocked to the floor.
A second clip from a third officer on the scene shows Myeni engages in a struggle with the two other officers.
That third officer deploys his taser before a shot is fired. Three more then follow.
Towards the end of the video an officer then yells ‘police.’
Officers had been responding to a 911 call at around 8:10pm Wednesday claiming he had followed a woman into her home, took off his shoes and exhibited ‘odd’ behavior.
Police said Myeni appears to have arrived at the property by car before allegedly following the woman into her home.
Once inside, he then sat down and took off his shoes, and was trying to talk to the homeowners, she said.
Police said the taser was ineffective in subduing Myeni, who then charged at the third officer and punched him.
Myeni’s family has cast doubts on the police’s version of events, with his American wife Lindsay (pictured together) saying he was not a violent person
Police said Myeni, who lived down the road from the property, followed the woman into the home, took off his shoes and exhibited ‘odd’ behavior then allegedly ‘charged’ at and assaulted the three cops who arrived on the scene
Myeni then allegedly ran back at the first officer who fired a single gunshot at him.
The shot did not stop the Myeni, who tackled the officer to the ground, straddling him and punching him repeatedly, police said.
At this point, the second cop fired three rounds at Myeni, who fell to the ground, police said.
‘This all happened in less than one minute from officer one’s arrival,’ Ballard said.
Both the police chief and Myeni’s wife said the 29-year-old did not know them prior to the incident.
Myeni’s wife Lindsay Myeni, who was born in the US but met her husband while she was on missionary work in South Africa, previously told Hawaii News Now she does not know what led him to visit the home.
However, she dismissed the claims it was a burglary, describing him as the ‘most gentle person’ and suggesting different cultural norms may have meant his actions were misunderstood by the residents.
Myeni is from the Zulu Kingdom where it is customary for people to visit ‘anyone’s house’, she told the outlet.
‘In Zulu culture you can go to anyone’s house. You can knock on anyone’s door. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8 o’clock it’s not a big deal. Neighbor are neighbors,’ she said.
Lindsay added that the police account that he took off his shoes shows he believed he was showing the homeowners respect.
‘It says he took off his shoes. I’m sure he did that as a sign of respect,’ she told the outlet.
Lindsay said her husband had been on his way home to the house they shared with their two children just down the street from the now-crime scene.
He had been at the Pali Lookout earlier that day and seemed his usual self, she said, adding she had spoken to him less than 20 minutes before the incident unfolded.
‘He was on his way home. So for whatever reason, he stopped to talk to this neighbor – that literally is down the street from us,’ she said.
‘I don’t know why he stopped at those people’s house,’ she said, adding that they didn’t know each other.
She insisted he ‘wouldn’t burglarize’ saying: ‘We have money. We have everything we need. We’re not looking for anything. He wanted to talk to them for some reason.’
Lindsay told the outlet she could not understand what had happened as he is the ‘most gentle person… and the best father.’
She added: ‘We’ve got two babies under 2. I’ve got to go to sleep every night without him.’
Myeni appeared on Idols (South Africa) in 2013 and was the nephew of a rural king’s village in the Zulu Kingdom, meaning he has the rank of a prince.
Lindsay suggested his actions may have been the result of cultural differences after he moved to Hawaii in January. Lindsay said in the Zulu Kingdom it is customary to go into ‘anyone’s home’ and taking off his shoes was a mark of respect
He also used to play rugby for KZN club in Durban.
Myeni and his wife met six years ago when she was on a Christian mission in the country.
They lived in South Africa for three years before moving to the US and then relocating to Hawaii in January.
Myeni was supposed to have his green card interview the following week after his death, his wife said.
‘We dated, got engaged and got married before he ever came to America,’ Lindsay told Hawaii News Now.
‘He never wanted to come to America. It was never anything he was interested in. He loves his people. He is from the Zulu tribe. They speak Zulu.’
Myeni’s death came just one week after Sykap, a 16-year-old from the U.S. territory of Guam, was shot dead by Honolulu police officers on April 5.
Sykap died from multiple gunshot wounds following a police chase that started on the East side of O’ahu and ended near Kalakaua Avenue.
Six people were in the car, with two of them shot by officers in the incident.
Sykap was taken to a hospital where he died while the other person shot – a 14-year-old boy – survived.
Police said the car was involved in an armed robbery just 20 minutes prior to the shooting.
These officer-involved shootings come as the nation is reeling from multiple other police killings of predominantly black men across the US.