8 HPD officers were fired in 2017 for misdeeds, says report
The Honolulu Police Department last year fired or recommended for firing police officers in 22 cases, according to an annual report.
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The Honolulu Police Department last year fired or recommended for firing police officers in 22 cases ranging from sex assault to kidnapping and malicious use of physical force to use of illicit drugs, according to an annual report the agency submitted last week to the state Legislature.
The 22 cases represent a slight dip from the 24 cases reported the year before and 25 the year before that.
Of the 22 cases, eight officers were discharged, while the rest remain either in arbitration or have cases pending in some way.
In all, 76 officers were disciplined for misconduct in 2017, another dip from the year before when 81 officers were disciplined. In 2015, punishment was doled out to 76 officers.
Twenty-five of last year’s 76 discipline cases were earmarked for criminal investigation, the report said.
The department has been under fire in recent years for officer misconduct. A 2016 Honolulu Star-Advertiser investigation found that nearly 1 in 6 of HPD’s 2,099 officers had been taken to court one or more times since joining the force, and since 2010 one HPD officer has been arrested or prosecuted every 40 days.
This year’s misconduct stats do not include the arrest of former Chief Louis Kealoha, who quit last year under the specter of a criminal probe and faces federal conspiracy and corruption charges.
But the department has undergone a leadership change, and new Chief Susan Ballard has promised to do a better job investigating cases where officers are involved.
Ballard couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, but she told the Star-Advertiser in October that “too many officers that are fired for just reasons are returned to work, and some officers that are fired should not have been. Discipline needs to be done fairly and with just cause.”
Next year’s report is likely to include the misdeeds of four officers accused last week of forcing a man to place his mouth on a urinal at a public restroom.
Here is what the eight officers who were fired last year did:
>> Made unwanted sexual advances on a female while off duty, including “remarks and physical contact of a sexual nature.”
>> Concealed items and did not pay for them before leaving a store. The officer also used a credit card in another person’s name without permission.
>> Entered a van without permission and maliciously used physical force against the occupant. Also unlawfully used an HPD-issued Taser and failed to notify a supervisor.
>> Visited multiple physicians and lied to obtain multiple prescriptions and large quantities of drugs.
>> Was verbally abusive and threatened his wife. Also made unwanted phone calls and text messages.
>> Offered to use police powers to help a female suspect in exchange for sexual favors, then used the departmental computer to give confidential information to the suspect as part of a scheme to defraud and deprive through bribery.
>> Assaulted wife during an argument and was found in possession of illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
>> Handcuffed a man and drove him to a place where he threatened him and damaged his property. Did not submit appropriate incident reports documenting his actions.
In addition, nine officers received suspensions, ranging from three days to 20 days, for failing to properly investigate an off-duty shooting incident, and at least five officers got between three days and 20 days for their roles in covering up a motor vehicle collision involving an officer.