The Honolulu Police Department has launched a full investigation after surveillance video surfaced of an off-duty male sergeant repeatedly punching a woman in a Waipahu bar and restaurant.
KHON2 spoke with a friend of the woman, who said that the woman was the officer’s ex-girlfriend.
HPD said in a press conference Wednesday that the department received the video Tuesday afternoon and confirmed that the man in the video is an 18-year veteran of the department, assigned to District 5 in Kalihi.
His police powers have been removed, meaning he is on desk duty and his gun and badge were taken.
Police chief Louis Kealoha said the sergeant has not been arrested “and the reason why is we’re still collecting the evidence. We’re still interviewing witnesses. We just completed interviewing the victim so there’s a lot of things that we have to shore up.”
Kealoha said the department must look at everything before determining any type of punishment for the sergeant. “It’s not true that every domestic violence case that we go to results in an arrest,” he said.
In order to arrest someone for abuse, Honolulu police say the victim must have visible injuries or the victim must make a complaint. In this particular case, police have neither.
In fact, the victim told KHON2 that they were just playing around. She said they were practicing kickboxing and that she took swings at him too.
“Looking at that video, the knee jerk reaction from myself is that this guy needs to be arrested. He needs to be brought to justice as a police officer,” Kealoha said. “But when you step back and you compose yourself and you think about what needs to be done, you have to look at certain things such as the law, that the evidence needs to be collected. We need to know exactly what happened.”
HPD said the investigation will also determine whether proper procedures were followed, including officers who responded to the scene.
The victim’s friend told KHON2 that police were called to the restaurant Monday night, but responding officers couldn’t do anything about it.
“As they approached, (they said) ‘What’s up, Sarge?’ So why would you want to make a report at this point? He’s there, amongst friends. Who is going to make a report?” the witness said.
Kealoha says the department is against all forms of domestic violence. “Any officer who is convicted of assaulting a family or household member will be disciplined and subject to termination,” he said.
When asked for his reaction, Kealoha replied, “When I saw the video, I felt disappointed when I found out it was a police officer. Even if it wasn’t a police officer, I was still disappointed because to see that kind of violence is unacceptable, whether you’re a citizen, especially if you’re a police officer, because we should know better.”
“He took an oath to protect and serve his community with honesty and integrity as a police officer. Nothing in this video shows honesty, integrity or protection,” said the witness.
Watch the Honolulu Police Dept.’s full press conference below: