HPD: No criminal case against police sergeant in beating video

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha

The Honolulu Police Department said Tuesday it does not have enough evidence to pursue a criminal case against one of its own.

Police chief Louis Kealoha addressed lawmakers during a public informational briefing at the State Capitol Tuesday.

Domestic violence service providers shared victims stories, but a large portion of the public briefing focused on HPD and an incident caught on tape.

Three weeks ago, an off-duty police sergeant was caught on surveillance video hitting a woman in a Waipahu restaurant.

“It’s correct that no report was generated because what we think happened is that the officers weren’t sent to an abuse case at the time,” he said.

Senate president Donna Mercado Kim grilled HPD about its report policy. HPD clarified a written report is not required for every incident that involves a police officer, but a supervisor is required to respond to the scene.

“I’m not saying we’re a perfect organization, but we’re one of the best in the nation and what makes us the best is we’re willing to sit down in this forum and listen to your voices, who you represent the public and we want to make improvements to this policy, the quality of our officers and to prevent abuse,” Kealoha said.

HPD also shared its domestic violence training, which is three hours for recruits and one hour per year thereafter.

Sen. Will Espero (D-Ewa Beach, Ewa) expressed concern. “To me, that just doesn’t sound like that’s a lot or enough,” he said.

“We’re going to go back, we’re going to look at this,” Kealoha said.

“What did you learn in there that you found surprising or disturbing?” KHON2 asked Espero.

“There was a lot of information shared,” he said. “I think for starters the fact that he didn’t know how much they spent on training and that’s key to all this. Also, the fact that they had the video.”

HPD was planning to show the entire video at the briefing in front of everyone, but some lawmakers didn’t like that idea and decided to watch the video at a later time in private.

Lawmakers say their involvement is not over and issues regarding HPD transparency, reporting and training will likely pop up during the next legislative session.

Even though HPD is not pursuing a criminal case against the sergeant in the video, the city prosecutor has yet to decide whether to press charges.

The sergeant remains on desk duty, stripped of police powers, but still earning a sergeant’s salary.

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