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Hilo Man Arrested & Charged After Assaulting Police Officer

by Thunda

Hawai’i Island police have arrested and charged 39-year-old Justin Siliva Lealao, of Hilo, following an incident in the area of Carlsmith Beach Park/Four Miles in Keaukaha, on Saturday evening, July 29, 2023.

On Sunday afternoon, July 31, 2023, after conferring with Hawai’i County prosecutors, detectives charged Lealao with the following offenses:

  • first-degree assault against a police officer
  • resisting arrest
  • deadly weapons prohibited
  • operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI)
  • possession of an open liquor container
  • driving while license suspended/revoked
  • no no-fault insurance

His bail was set at $4,300 and he remained in police custody pending his initial court appearance on Monday, July 31, 2023, in Hilo District Court.

The charges against Lealao stem from an incident reported shortly before 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening, July 29, 2023, when South Hilo patrol officers responded to the area of Carlsmith Beach Park/Four Miles in Keaukaha, for a report of vehicles congregating, burning rubber on the roadway, and drinking in the area. Upon the initial officer arriving, a pick-up truck being operated by Lealao was observed blocking traffic. The uniformed officer contacted Lealao who was seated in the driver seat, who exhibited signs of being under the influence of alcohol, and open liquor bottles were also observed in his vehicle. A request was made for Lealao to exit the vehicle; however, he refused and became aggressive towards police. As officers attempted to remove Lealao from the vehicle to arrest him, he became physically resistant and combative. During the struggle to remove him from the vehicle, Lealao kicked an officer in the knee, and attempted to gain control of an officers Conducted Energy Weapon (Taser), causing it to discharge and one of the probes to strike the officer in the leg. Officers also observed Lealao to be in possession of brass knuckles.

Lealao was subsequently placed under arrest, and the vehicle he was operating was recovered as evidence pending execution of a search warrant.

The injured officer was treated at the Hilo Medical Center for knee and hand injuries, and released a short time later.

Upon execution of the search warrant on the vehicle Lealao was operating, detectives recovered various empty and partially full liquor bottles and the brass knuckles.

Police would like to remind the public that it is illegal to consume alcohol on any public roadway, on County property, and in County beach parks without a proper permit.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact Detective Christopher Jelsma of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2386 or email

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