Man detained in Hawaii for over 2 years over mistaken identity sues state

Confusion over Mr. Sprestersbach’s identity began in October 2011 when he fell asleep in the stairwell of a college in Honolulu. A polic...


Confusion over Mr. Sprestersbach’s identity began in October 2011 when he fell asleep in the stairwell of a college in Honolulu. A policeman woke him up and asked his name.

Mr Sprestersbach gave his grandfather’s last name, Castleberry, according to the lawsuit. When the police entered the name into their database, a warrant against Thomas R. Castleberry emerged. Mr. Castleberry, who is unrelated to Mr. Sprestersbach and has never met him, apparently left Hawaii in 2009, according to the lawsuit.

“Castleberry” remained in the police computer system as a pseudonym of Mr. Sprestersbach. He was arrested again while sleeping in a public park in 2015, but officers let him go after taking his fingerprints and finding they did not match Mr Castleberry’s. Still, officers failed to correct ministry records, according to the complaint.

On May 11, 2017, Mr. Sprestersbach fell asleep on a sidewalk while waiting for food outside a shelter in Honolulu. Mr Sprestersbach, who did not have identification, gave officers his full name, date of birth and social security number, according to the lawsuit. Police arrested him, this time without doing a fingerprint comparison, according to the lawsuit.

At the hospital, Mr Sprestersbach protested when he was forced to attend group sessions for drug addicts, and employees responded by giving him antipsychotic medication that made him drool and had difficulty walking, according to the petition and to Vedanta Griffith, his sister.

In November 2019, one of his psychiatrists obtained his birth certificate and realized that Mr Sprestersbach was indeed who he claimed to be, according to the petition filed in August.

The hospital released him on January 17, 2020, along with 50 cents, two copies of his birth certificate, and other documents. He was then driven back to the same shelter where he was arrested and reunited with his sister after calling his family.

“These people have no heart,” Ms. Griffith said in a statement.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Man detained in Hawaii for over 2 years over mistaken identity sues state
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