A male suspect who brutally attacked a station jailer at Lakewood Sheriff’s Station two years ago was sentenced this week to 16 years in state prison for the cowardly assault.
On August 10, 2018, James Keoni Kalaaukahi, 29, was being booked at the Lakewood Station jail when he sucker-punched a female custody assistant in the face during fingerprinting, grabbed her taser and dragged her by her hair into a locked cell. Despite being bloodied with two black eyes, a concussion, broken nose, cervical spine injury and torn wrist ligament, our heroic C.A. managed to activate a panic button. Responding sworn personnel tried to neutralize Kalaaukahi with pepper spray but were ultimately forced to use their firearms in order to save the life of the custody assistant. Both the C.A. and Kalaaukahi were transported to the hospital for treatment. PPOA Executive Board Member/Custody Assistant Tony Coleman and Executive Director Wayne Quint Jr. were at the hospital with the C.A. and her family that evening to extend support. “She is the embodiment of the C.A. position: strong, professional and courageous,” said Coleman.
The 18-year LASD veteran continues to deal with the effects of that traumatic assault. Her broken nose has been surgically repaired and her spinal surgery is scheduled for next month.
There is no doubt that her will to survive enabled her to stay in the fight until her backup arrived. The fact that our Custody Assistant has been able to return to work in a new assignment is testament to her perseverance and determination. Both of those attributes are evident in this excerpt from the Victim Impact Statement she courageously read in court:
“I will get better and yes my life has been altered but I am still here. I thank God for my work family — my heroes who came to my aide. I thank God for the prayers and support of those I know and those I met along the way. It hasn’t been an easy journey and two years into it I still have much recovery ahead... You beat me, held me captive, tried to kill me and attempted to strip all of my dignity away, but you didn’t win. With every ounce of my being, I crawled to my help line that day and I will continue to seek help for my journey ahead. As for today, whether I crawl, walk, or run, I will get there.”