Uncategorized Police Commission opts against disciplining chief By Gordon Y.K. Pang Oct. 22, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! STAR-ADVERTISER Ron Taketa: There is no evidence the FBI is running an investigation of the police chief Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Honolulu Police Commission has found no reason to impose disciplinary action against Police Chief Louis Kealoha, commission Chairman Ron Taketa told reporters Wednesday after a closed-door meeting with his colleagues. The commission placed the topic “Discussion of Recent Events Related to the Chief of Police” on its executive session agenda Wednesday because of news stories stating that the FBI is investigating Kealoha, and because a state senator has called for him to go on leave, he said. “There were some inquiries regarding whether we had any interest in putting him on a leave-of-absence status,” Taketa said. However, “at this point in time, that doesn’t seem to be something relevant because we have no evidence or information that the FBI is conducting an investigation,” he said. “There’s some rumors that there’s an inquiry but … there’s no basis at all for us to consider any type of administrative leave or disciplinary action at all.” Commission investigators contacted officials with the FBI’s Hawaii field office to see whether they could confirm that Kealoha is being investigated, he said, and those investigators were told such activity could neither be confirmed nor denied. Additionally, no one from the public has come forward with any information that would spur the commission to discipline Kea-loha, Taketa said. Kealoha told the commission he is unaware of an FBI investigation against him, and other high-ranking officers questioned by members Wednesday said the same thing, Taketa said. Typically, it’s only after the department has been notified that there is an active investigation against a police officer that the officer is placed on administrative leave, he said. “In the absence of that, it would be really unfair to put someone behind the desk and take his police authority without any information whatsoever,” Taketa said. “There may be an inquiry, but that’s insufficient basis to take his police powers away.” FBI spokesman Tom Simon said Wednesday that as policy, the agency does not confirm or deny the existence of active investigations. But federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert, who represented the man once accused of stealing Kealoha’s mailbox, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this year that he had met with the FBI about HPD’s handling of Gerard Puana’s case. Silvert had suggested Kealoha violated his client’s civil rights. He later also accused Kealoha of purposely making statements while on the witness stand that caused a mistrial to avoid a not-guilty verdict for Puana. Puana is the uncle of Kealoha’s wife, Katherine, and has been in a long-standing legal dispute with the Kealohas regarding family finances. A deputy city prosecutor, Katherine Kealoha is reportedly also being investigated by the FBI. Silvert declined to confirm Wednesday that the FBI has begun an active investigation against Kealoha based on the findings he gave to the bureau. Silvert said, however, that he has not been contacted by the commission about any information he has. The chief was not at Wednesday’s commission meeting. HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said Kealoha is in Chicago for the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and won’t return until next week. The association’s website shows the convention runs from Saturday to Tuesday. Deputy Chief Cary Okimoto, who was promoted earlier this month, is acting chief in Kealoha’s absence, Yu said. Marie McCauley, HPD’s other deputy chief, is in training with the FBI in Quantico, Va., and Assistant Chief Clayton Kau has been temporarily assigned to her position, Yu said. During the public portion of Wednesday’s commission meeting, Oahu resident Nancy Manali urged the seven-member panel to fire the chief and get a new one. Manali did not mention investigations into Kealoha, but gave examples of poor performance by Honolulu police officers. “Things have got to change, and what’s going on now with our police chief, that has got to stop,” she said. Both Kealohas are under investigation by the city Ethics Commission. Katherine Kealoha sued the commission for a copy of the complaint against her. State Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point), who heads the Senate Public Safety Committee, has called for Kealoha to go on leave until the FBI has completed its investigation. “The Police Commission is obviously going to err on the side of caution and (will) support the chief until it has definitive facts,” Espero said Wednesday. “I don’t think the public is necessarily going to be satisfied with that reaction.” Last December, after Kealoha briefed commission members behind closed doors in the wake of the dismissal of Puana’s trial, Taketa told reporters that the panel would “wait until the authorities complete all of their investigations” before it would decide whether there was wrongdoing on the part of Kealoha or the department.