HPD chief on paid leave for 30 days
  • Monday, June 17, 2019
  • 78°
Hawaii News | Top News

HPD chief on paid leave for 30 days

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Katherine Kealoha

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    HPD Acting Chief Cary Okimoto speaks during a news conference Tuesday at HPD’s main precinct in Honolulu. HPD Chief Louis Kealoha voluntarily placed himself on restricted duty after receiving a letter informing him that he is the target of a federal grand jury investigation.

Embattled Police Chief Louis Kealoha was placed on paid leave and is no longer involved in running the Honolulu Police Department while his bosses, the Honolulu Police Commission members, decide what to do next, police and commission officials said Tuesday.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has urged the commission to take “decisive action” at its next meeting, Jan. 4, and not allow the current situation to drag on, acting Mayor Ron Amemiya said at a news conference that also was attended by Max Sword, the commission chairman, and acting Police Chief Cary Okimoto.

Kealoha, who turned in his badge and firearm, will be on leave for 30 days, pending the outcome of the commission’s meeting.

Sword declined to comment on what options the commission will consider when it meets next month or to specifically say whether termination will be one of the options.

Kealoha’s attorney, Myles Breiner, said Monday night that his client had voluntarily placed himself on restricted duty after receiving a letter informing him that he is the target of a federal grand jury investigation.

Okimoto said at the news conference that four other officers, whom he would not name, had received target letters and have been reassigned to desk duty.

Kealoha is the only one of the five who is on paid leave, the officials said.

They said the decision for Kealoha to take leave and not be involved in running the department was made in part to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given that officers would still see Kealoha as the chief if he remained on the job.

Breiner said the letter to Kealoha was intended to intimidate his client.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” Breiner said.

The development comes after a retired police officer, Niall Silva, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to falsifying documents and altering evidence in a court case connected to Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a deputy prosecutor.

Silva, 52, a former criminal intelligence unit technician, is scheduled to be sentenced April 3 before U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway.

The plea by Silva, who appeared Friday before U.S. District Magistrate Kevin Chang, lends support to the assertion by Gerard Puana, uncle of Kealoha’s wife, that he was framed for the theft of the couple’s mailbox in June 2013.

Puana has alleged the theft case against him came three months after he filed suit against Katherine Kea­loha about her handling of his mother’s assets.

The complaint brought by Michael G. Wheat, a San Diego-based special attorney for the U.S. attorney general, said that Silva and other co-conspirators helped to falsify records and present false testimony against Puana.

The complaint, filed Dec. 9 under court seal, does not name any of the alleged co-conspirators, but mentions that Silva was supervised in the criminal intelligence unit by a lieutenant and a captain who ultimately reported to the police chief.

The falsification of documents and false testimony occurred sometime between June 21, 2013, and June 2, 2016, according to the complaint.

The document says “Co-conspirator No. 1” falsely reported the theft of a mailbox in front of the residence.

In order to “conceal and alter evidence of the alleged theft,” co-conspirator No. 2, a police officer, retrieved the hard drive from the residence’s security camera before the theft was reported.

Silva and the second co-conspirator then falsely claimed they retrieved the hard drive after the theft was reported, and Silva testified to that effect at Puana’s trial, which ended in December 2014 in a mistrial.

Co-conspirator No. 1 is believed to be Katherine Kea­loha, who earlier admitted she reported the mailbox stolen.

Puana filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday naming the chief, his wife, Katherine, and five other police officers for allegedly violating his constitutional rights in two criminal cases in 2011 and 2013.

In the civil lawsuit, he alleged Katherine Kealoha used her position as a Honolulu deputy prosecutor to keep him incarcerated for 72 days.

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  • Buh-bye, homeboy! Had a nice run, but all your crooked kanaka connections won’t save you when the Feds step in, and this is only the beginning. Next stop? Keith Kaneshiro and his semi-syndicate operation!

    This is going to be an awesome year.

  • Kaboooommmmmm! Self proclaimed Banana Republic Police Chief experiences a moment of lucidity when realizing that there is no Banana Republic and HI is a state and he can’t cook up lies and taint evidence like a dictator. Great job by the FEDs, now give him his day in court then send him off to prison where he belongs. Krook Caldwell and his embezzlement and racketeering rail scam of the century will be up next!

    • ‘Chief” Kealoha is done as da chief. He is just not up to the job. Start searching for a mainland police leader and expert. Someone with an actual track record of service with integrity and efficiency.

      • City can’t afford one of those. Cost of living alone will kill him. I work for a Federal Agency, bosses chair here in Hawaii is a revolving chair. Only reason Federal Law Enforcement last longer, 25% law enforcement pay added to their base along with Locality pay, hidden incentive.

        • Forget the local police, just outsource the policing services to the military to keep the peace around here and allow the rest of us law abiding citizens get a CWP. The local police force is pretty much useless doing nothing of value but issuing speeding tickets and releasing criminals after almost every arrest.

        • You’re kind of dim aren’t you? What a lame idea. The thing about America is a civilian government. The Commander-in-Chief is the elected representative of the people of the nation. The whole idea is that government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. That’s why we have a civil and not a military Police Dept. That’s why Martial Law during WWII was such a big deal and we got rid of it as soon as the emergency was over.

        • “The whole idea is that government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

          Dude, what are you smokin? Since when was the FEDERAL government and the US military NOT for the people? If anything, the FEDs had to put an end to the corruption and dictatorship going on here. I would trust my life more to the military personnel here on Oahu over a strung-out and corrupt cop any day.

        • IRT dragoninwater: You should make that known when the Police arrive…I bet they still help you no matter what, cause that’s what they do…Try asking the Military who they call for help on base…In fact if you put your name and address on here I bet HPD can refer you to Military Police when you need help…#MAGA

        • jusris, if the police services weren’t outsourced the the military police you’re telling me they would refuse to help? You too, sound like some union thug making things up just out of fear of losing your government job. But if you have some evidence go ahead and post your sources, I’m all ears.

        • darn typos on the first sentence…
          jusris, if the police services were outsourced to the military police you’re telling me they would refuse to help?

    • Wait,FBI investigating? The Comey Show? The Hillary Backstabber? Oh, okay then Kealoha don’t worry about it. The case will fall apart. Like stew meat in a 6 hr.pot. Some like it that way.

  • Fortunately for the chief he will have his day in court, which is afforded every citizen of the United States…except for those people shot by officers while “perpetrating a crime” like being drunk…it is understandable that the chief remains on the job as it would appear to be admitting guilt if he stepped down, that is what attorneys would prefer. In a sane world, he would step down to avoid being a distraction to the department and those officers doing their jobs the best they can. In a sane world, he would step down to keep the integrity of his badge, and to fight the charges in court. But we live in a litigious world ruled by lawyers.

    • In a sane world, he would have stepped down by the mayor’s request “to avoid being a distraction to the good work done by most officers” and Honolulu wouldn’t be embarrassed in yet another area of management.

    • Even if he claims he is innocent, his presence as Chief is a distraction to all of HPD. He must remove himself from the position until the legal process has either cleared or prosecuted him.

      He is directly responsible for this chain of events.

    • He won’t step down. It’s a strategic move to get the taxpayers to foot his legal bills. The guy is a sleazeball and will cost us taxpayers probably millions with $1,000 an hour O.J. Simpson dream team legal counsel defending him, all at our expense!

  • This is what OHA needs. A big shake up against the last administration under Chair Bob Lindsey and his corrupt cronies led by OHA’s CEO. OHA needs the special federal prosecutor Michael G. Wheat to investigate wrongdoings by its corrupt administration and a few trustees. Perhaps a letter to the Prosecutor informing him that OHA’s administration has spent trust monies to the tune of millions. In fact going over budget by $10 million in 2015.

  • We need to stop waiting for the Feds to step in and fix everything for us.

    Mayor Caldwell, it’s time you stepped up and acted more like a mayor and less like a donor loving candidate.

  • Police corruption comes in many forms. The Honolulu Police Department overall has good police officers however the number of corrupt and dishonest officers is growing
    at a alarming rate. Things like police officers giving breaks to people who are speeding in their vehicles because they are related to other officers while citing people who have
    no connections to the police within the same hour. I will present my proof to the police commission naming the particular police officer, badge number with the date and
    time of day. This happens all of the time and erodes peoples confidence in the Honolulu Police Dept. I will not publicly name the a particular police officer on advise of my
    lawyer and in the event that there is future litigation. Watch commanders should be aware and warn their officers to one honest.

    • This happened to my family too. We didn’t pursue a case because we were afraid of retaliation. Hired a lawyer to fight the ticket of being a passenger with anopen soda can. The driver was a Lt.’s nephew who was drinking. Cost us fifiteen hundred dollars%)) for the attorney and the cop didn’t show up. Ticket was thrown out.This also caused my young adult relative to change his mind about becoming a cop. Very sad.

      • You right, Srrgeant would tell us to go down the court house, see so and so, sign affidavit, don’t ask questions….. lol. All democrats. Guy the caused the whole investigation, a Republican, because he was not extended the same courtesy.

        • Yes the guy that caused it was a REPUB – caused a lot of grief because his family didn’t get a pass. This thing still happens but much more discreet because of the potential penalties that might be incurred. In this state its still who you know!

        • You all talking bubbles now. Open soda can,republican,affidavits,40 years ago. Geez what happen to the old days when the old timers could just gossip at Ala Moana food court? Now they on the internet.

        • Fred Hemmings. Okuda was the boss in charge of traffic violations section at district court. When someone called him, he would tell the tagged person to bring the yellow copy to him. Okuda would then pull the original tag, have a clerk prepare an affidavit indicating that the tag was issued in error . A list with officers names needing to sign affidavits was sent to PD. Officers signed, tags were then cancelled. Some were legitimate errors, others were favors. Fred did not get this courtesy, initiated complaint and investigation. Major investigation in the 80s.

        • Yeah I remember during the rein of Tom “Fatboy” Okuda the judiciary had a major scandal with the ticket fixing incidents….Fred Hemmings went bananas because he didn’t get the same courtesy…he declared war on the sheriffs, Okuda and Caminos ….questioned why they purchased equipment and other related items without going through the State procurement system…..question why they had a swat team armed with uzi machine guns…..it was a major scandal which caused the State grief to no end because it seemed they were accountable to no one except themselves……it was one of reasons the sheriff division was combined with the Correcttions Department to form the Public Safety Department……

  • The Feds know that they are the only ones that can protect the public from the chief.

    Likewise, the Feds are the only ones that can protect the public from his wife.

    • What exactly does “restricted duty” mean? It sure would be good to know what the Chief is restricted from doing. In the past officers u7nder investgation for misconduct were given administrative jobs, but the Chief is pretty much 100% administration so that option seems moot.

  • Alcoran’s attorney, Myles Breiner, said, “I think the case was grossly overcharged.” He’s got the same Lawyer as the money hungry itch from Kaneohe. Now they can both embezzle money from the State.

  • This whole thing really hurts me. Some of the best people I’ve ever met were co-workers at HPD. I am so sorry for them. I really hope this goes away quickly and they get the leadership they deserve.

    • Yet, in the 30+ years you spent sucking on the public teat, you did nothing to report the rampant corruption, lies and embezzlement. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM and why we are almost a Banana Republic. I really hope Krook Caldwell and Inge tap 100% of the ERS pension system to pay for the rail and leave you blood sucking thieves penniless for robbing the middle class taxpayers.

        • Wow! Someone’s having a really bad day. Oh well. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday Season. Hug your families if they are near, call them if they are not.

        • Not jealous bro, I am set for life but I am upset that my taxes go to waste and not helping the hard working middle class and the poor legal citizens where the money should be going.

        • Don’t kid yourself NanakuliBoss. I’ve put in far more into SS then I will probably ever collect from it even if I lived to the age of 300. I’m a net gain for SS and I don’t mind since it goes to the public and is a fair system that benefits the hard working middle class.

        • Yess sirrr! Free medical for da hubby too! Ha, ha, ha! 30 years of low pay and now I hit the JACKPOT Baby! I don’t even need a part time job. Wooohuuu!

        • alohaland, if you got low pay then maybe you deserve the pension and free healthcare. But the others like cellodad were handsomely paid in the $150k+ range for 30+ years while doing the work a HS dropout could do. They got the Mufi and Kirk golden parachute packages and flaunt their pompous greedy a$$es all over these comment areas how much they earned and how educated they are belittling everyone else. Wouldn’t surprise me if these civil servants had a $200k+ a year 2nd government job double dipping into the tax base due to all the free time in their main BS job they performed, or lack thereof. I get really upset when my tax dollars get abused and don’t get spent appropriately so you’ll see me ride such crooks every-time I get the chance.

  • The Chief needed to go along time ago. Now it is getting worse for him and all the rest of us by proxy. We are already looked at as a Banana Republic already and this is making it worse. Please do the honorable thing and resign.

    • Krook is next. Just wait till the FEDs open all those safety deposit boxes at the bank Krook works at. I bet they’re full of stuffed brown Aloha envelopes from the rail scam.

  • The stench of corruption is especially pilau when it emanates from one who swore to uphold the rule of law. And the penalty should be equally harsh.

    We have no room in government for people who believe the law only applies to the little guy and not to themselves — that they can make their own laws and ignore existing ones.

    That’s true when we’re talking about a local police chief. How much more so when a “populist” President has the same attitude.

    • This also applies to every level of city and state government where corruption, fraud, abuse, willful mismanagement is the standard.

      Just another day in the little 10th world of Hawaii Nei.

  • I see Kealoha’s wife as the cause of their crimes and Kealoha’s inability to stand up to her. It appears greed led her to try to take money from her grandmother and implicate her uncle– this gets more believability now. Then they tried to use their positions to cover this up and force her uncle to give up his case. Sad story of dishonesty, greed, and cruelty.

  • Wow! Has Obama appointed a new Federal Prosecutor since Dan Inouye died? I thought qualification number one for all prospective appointees was “Thou shalt not investigate (never mind indict) Hawaii state and local officials.” If we’d had the Feds on Billy Kenoi’s case instead of the bumbling state guys, that piece of work might be on his way to jail. Anyway, I can’t wait to see who’s next.

    • No, but it’s precisely BECAUSE Barry Hussein is on his way out that this case can be prosecuted. This will fall under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s office, District of Hawaii, and that is a position appointed by the President. The Assistant United States Attorneys, all of whom work under the appointee and one of whom will prosecute this case, work at the whim and behest of their boss, and the current boss, Florence Nakakuni–an Obama appointee–will soon be getting replaced by President Trump.

      Therefore, any AUSA who actually has integrity and believes in following the law–rather than Dan Inouye’s decrees, Barry Hussein’s donor hierarchy list or the generally disgusting syndicate-mandated method of dispensing justice in Hawaii–now has carte blanche to do his/her job and put criminals in jail, no matter how precious they are to the ruling cesspool party (Democrats).

      Therefore, you now see one of the biggest embarrassments to Hawaii about to face trial. Billy Kenoi played his cards right and demanded a quick and expedient trial at the very right time. A few months later and his okole would be prosecuted by the federal government, and you know how that would end up without his kanaka banana republic state court connections.

      Only question now is…WHO’S NEXT?? Keith Kaneshiro? Katherine Kealoha? Kirk Caldwell?

      I suppose that all depends on who President Trump installs as the U.S. Attorney. I can think of a few candidates who are likely on the short list, and that should cause quite a few local good old boys (i.e., Democrats) to stay awake long into the night.

  • Aloha, Kealoha. With a number of “conspirators” how can the Chief say he didn’t know what was going on? His wife is the main one and several boys in blue are involved. Most HPD officers are up and up, but, there’s some that are just pilau. They reported to the Chief. Now, one piece of the puzzle plead guilty. The dominoes will start falling down. Was it worth it, guys? The Chief cannot protect you now. The FEDS are involved. Send them all to Arizona. Isn’t that where prisoners wear PINK jumpsuits? From blue to pink. Cute…

    • And if leaks out to the mainland inmates these new prisoners are ex cops, possibly one being a former police chief, their life will be beyond he ll. Better to confess and make the deal and be labeled a rat or be known labeled the ex cop prison and get brutalized beyond their imagination. Like watching Law and Order the feds probably don’t care so much about catching the little fish, what they really want is Mr and Mrs big fish and would probably give all these ex cops probation in exchange for the killa testimony and evidence that would fry the two big kahunas. And if they can bag an elected city prosecutor for perjury or other similar offense who obviously is desperately trying to protect at least one of the kahunas related to lying to a judge to get her friend off from a speeding ticket, the feds would have completed the hat trick.

  • Here is the plot my SA blogging friends. The Chief will plead innocent till the end unless the Captain or Lieutenant confesses that indeed Louis gave direct orders to implicate Puana. Katherine Kealoha will deny that Louis had any knowledge. Katherine will take the fall with either the Captain or Lieutenant and Louis will be cleared of all charges but resign because of the obvious implications that cannot actually be proven. The loyalty of the Captain and Lieutenant will be tested big time. The heat is on!

    • The Capt or Lt might want to save their own okole so they will chirp like Silva did. They must have been promoted to those positions so they could be used as pawns if the needed. The Criminal Intelligence Unit sounded like an elite unit but they are now shamed. Wonder what other in-house favors that unit did? Thanks Feds, for policing the police.

      • Being a cop is a tough job and I respect the fact that they protect their own. These guys will cover each other in life and death situations. I would think that the bond is strong and they may plead the 5th. Silva will be looked upon as a rat. The unit will remain elite in their world as long as no one else “rats out”. Katherine was the cause of all of this and SHE SHOULD take the fall. Puana is jobless and leeches off the grandmother. Sad situation for all in this Holiday Season.

        • I agree that being an officer is a tough job. But it’s not like one had to make a split second decision in this situation. The ones involved made their choice or were either coerced. Feds are gathering evidence before handing Katherine a letter.

        • If someone had your back covered in the line of duty which can be life and death it does not have to be a split second decision to provide a cover up such as this in return. The bond is strong and there may not have even been a coercion. Military personnel can relate to this as well. Not a justification to break the law but I would share the same mentality. Just a different point of view.

        • Yeah, I feel bad for the whole Department. As I mentioned elsewhere, some of the finest people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing go to work each day, not really expecting our thanks but just to know that they are helping.

        • Saveparadise that is false logic and don’t hold water, especially when you compared the military tomthe siuation. In the My Lai massacre soldiers where asked why did they murder innocent men, women and children and their response was they were just following orders. However a couple of African American soldiers who did not participate in the massacre was latter asked why they refused a direct order from their superior amd they said something like ‘It just was not the Christian thing to do’. If HPD officers are ordered to commit crimes amd violate their code of conduct even if the orders allegedly came directly from the chief or his wife. It is up to the officer to refuse the unlawful order even if some label them as rats. The US military trains their soldiers to follow orders however they are also trained to refuse to follow unlawful orders like to kill innocent civilians. It is clear HPD needs to some serious ETHICS training and to be able to report to someone like Sheehan in the police commision and request whistleblower protection if high ranking HPD officers, including the chief order them to commit unlawful acts. These line officers who know are facing felony charges for carrying out unlawful orders or ‘favors’ for superios, if sent to federal prison and labeled as ex cops will be in world of unimaginable schitz way beyond the label of a rat.

        • inverse, it is not logic it is an opinion. Unless you know for a fact that Kealoha indeed gave “orders” you have no basis for an argument at all. All you know is what you are reading in the paper and proclaiming yourself judge and jury. I am simply stating the mentality behind standing beside your fellow officer regardless of the situation. If you feel you are that much more self righteous than the person that just put his life on the line for you then by all means be a rat.

  • Honolulu’s finest? I remember a police officer once gave me major attitude because he didn’t want to write up a report for a minor MVA. When I complained they sent another officer who took my report without question. But the disgruntled officer wrote an addendum consisting of several pages claiming that I was the difficult one. Major CYA report, never saw a multiple page report for a minor motor vehicle accident. My complaints regarding the questionable HPD report fell on deaf ears. All he had to do was skip his coffee break and take my simple report

  • Yet he is the one dolling out the job assignments of who was going to cover what while he steps back.. um.. no … the second in command can decide who will handle what.. that is the reason why you are under this investigation. Just let them do what they need to do and if your clean your clean. But you deciding who handles what can lead to more cover ups..

  • Restricted duty?….what does it mean? Will he still have operational and administrative control or influence over the department even though he’s at home ….will the person who replaced him still answer to him?…..somehow I get the impression that this more for public relations and he won’t easily give up his seat of power…..

    • (It means that though he’s still a C&C employee, he does not have Police powers. He may not carry his pistol, he may not arrest anyone, and he cannot enforce the HRS except in the ways that any other citizen may.)

  • “He’s done nothing wrong,” Breiner said by telephone Monday night. Yeah, right! Since several other officers were handed similar letters, it’s time to clean house and make our HPD right again. There are many fine officers at HPD but very few at the top. I’m also disappointed at Keith Kaneshiro for not putting Ms. Kealoha on leave until this is cleared up.

    • Grand jury indictments are most often used for felonies, which are the more serious crimes and most felonies usually carry mandatory prison terms. He’s soon going to be sharing the same shower and soap as some of the criminals he had locked up years ago. LOL

  • Only a matter of time before Kealoha is history. I doubt the officers will take the fall for this incident. Kealoha’s attorney talks a good story but once the officers start to bail out the blame will go to the chief and his wife.

    This is the story that was going on with the feds from last year, the feds knew about this incident and kept trying to get answers from Prosecutor Kaneshiro and others but they couldn’t get the proof they needed. Guess they found a way so one cop eventually pleaded out so he wouldn’t go to prison for very long. Now it is up to the other cops to see if they will plead out for lesser sentences or if they will take the fall for Kealoha and his wife. I doubt they want to take the blame so will implicate Louis and his wife.

    Anyway, I think Kealoha’s contract is up next year so no matter what the police commission should probably ask him to step down or they will fire him, he can either go quietly or face the embarrassment of being fired. Hard to run a clean shop when you have so much controversy starting from the top. The police commission needs to clean house and get rid of these people who gave a bad name to the police department.

  • “Several other police officers have received similar letters and are expected to also be placed on restricted duty.” I wonder why the “other” officers are not named as well. I’m not a Kealoha fan, but seems a little unfair that several got letters but only he is named.

  • A nightmare that begun when an educated sibling took advantage of, it was thought , a less knowledgeable one! Sigh! The legacy of the first pair of siblings’ greed goes on and on throughout the history of mankind !

  • Na-Ha- Kanaka chief finally goes down with the oversize elephant partner. No wonder the kanaka has a smaller elephant next to him. Need to join MD diet class. Next kanaka should be a smarter Kanaka!………….. Got it !

  • A our so-called prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro was quoted something to the effect that he stood 100% behind Kealoha. Where’s he going to end up in all this? Hopefully out too!

    • The chief and his wife are both toxic, everyone that stood by either of them is going to prison as all of them assisted and shielded the chief and his wife in this scandal. Soon they will all be sharing the same showers and soap with inmates they’ve arrested and prosecuted in the past. LOL

    • I agree, Keith Kaneshiro is an idiot, he publicly backs up Kealoha on tv. He should’ve keep his mouth shut and wait. I’m glad the feds took over or there wouldn’t be a case on the chief and his wife.

  • At least not going get “drama” at HPD for 30 days. Oh yeah, still get the other officers on desk duty, yeah? I bet other police departments across the country laughing at our boys in blue. SAD. Most HPD officers are outstanding, but, then, you get a few including the top man…

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