A Kalihi police sergeant has been stripped of his gun and badge after restaurant surveillance video surfaced showing him apparently attacking his former girlfriend.
The same officer was named in a police brutality lawsuit in 2006, but the jury sided with the officer.
The Honolulu Police Department launched an investigation after receiving a video Tuesday of the offduty officer repeatedly punching a woman Monday night at Restaurant Kuni and Lounge in Waipahu.
Others are seen in the video coming to the aid of the woman, and the officer stops his apparent assault.
Police did not identify the suspect at a news conference Wednesday, but did say he was an 18-year HPD veteran and a patrol sergeant stationed in Kalihi.
Media outlets and other sources have identified him as Darren Cachola, who was promoted to sergeant July 16 and is assigned to Kalihi.
Police are also investigating Pearl City officers who responded to the domestic violence case in Waipahu, but failed to file a report. No action has yet been taken against those officers.
Police Chief Louis Kealoha promised a full investigation into the case to see whether proper procedures were followed.
Standard procedure in a domestic violence case involving an officer would be to notify the officer’s supervisor, who notifies HPD’s Professional Standards Office, formerly known as Internal Affairs.
He said his “knee-jerk reaction” after viewing the video was that “this guy needs to be arrested,” but proper procedures need to be followed.
He said that even if the victim does not want to speak, police will continue to pursue the investigation.
Kealoha said he was not aware of previous cases of domestic violence or any other wrongdoing by the sergeant.
The sergeant has been stripped of his police powers and has been placed on desk duty while the case is being investigated.
Police said discipline can include termination.
Cachola was named in a lawsuit in 2006 after he allegedly kicked and broke the rib of a motorcyclist during a traffic stop 10 years ago.
Federal court documents online revealed Cachola, was sued in 2006 for the March 31, 2004, beating case of motorcyclist Christopher Bartolome.
Bartolome’s attorney, Daphne Barbee-Wooten, contacted Wednesday night, said that when she saw Cachola on TV news she exclaimed, “Oh, my God! That’s the same guy I sued.
“If police would own up to being violent and needing help, they can get help for that officer,” including anger management or training, she said, “so that something like this wouldn’t happen. There’s a big denial and they do cover up for each other.”
In the Bartolome case, a witness said two officers stopped him, but it was Cachola who kicked him.
“The witness said it looked like Rodney King,” Barbee-Wooten said.
She said the officers alleged he was trying to flee, but Bartolome stopped in a safe place near a stop sign.
Although the officers alleged he was driving drunk, then driving under the influence of drugs, Bartolome was cleared when they found no alcohol or drugs in his system.
Barbee-Wooten said a jury in the civil case found in favor of the police because they believed Cachola over the eyewitness and her client.
In Hawaii, as compared with the mainland, “there seems to be a presumption (of innocence) in favor of officers,” she said.