Officer’s wife alleges his use of police to harass her
A Honolulu police sergeant, who was in a 2014 viral video that showed him brawling with his girlfriend in a restaurant, allegedly recently used fellow officers to harass his estranged wife and threatened to take their children from her.
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A Honolulu police sergeant, who was in a 2014
viral video that showed him brawling with his girlfriend in a restaurant, allegedly recently used fellow officers to harass his estranged wife and threatened to take their children from her.
Sgt. Darren Cachola was fired but later got his job back after an arbitrator reversed the decision.
Under Cachola’s direction, three police officers in cars blocked in wife Kerri’s car at a school event Aug. 2 after she filed a “stay-away” order against him, her attorney, Eric Seitz, said Tuesday.
He said the officers had invalid complaints of custodial interference, saying she was in contempt, but police don’t enforce contempt. “That’s a judge’s job,” he said.
“He assaulted her in 2017 and police did nothing then,” Seitz said, so she filed a lawsuit in April.
He was arrested April 22 on misdemeanor abuse, and a criminal complaint was filed May 7, alleging abuse and harassment, to which he pleaded not guilty.
“He assaulted her again in June,” he said, adding that they thought he would back down while legal proceedings are being handled.
Despite having full legal and physical custody of their 3-year-old twin daughters, officers arrived the evening of Aug. 7 at Kerri Cachola’s doorstep in Kapolei, demanding she hand over the children to them, Seitz said.
Darren Cachola has visitation rights at specified times. But after April she cut off visitation and agreed to resume it only under agreed-to conditions of following a schedule and doing it through his parents, Seitz said.
Even after the agreement he failed to show up at times, but when he did he left the children with his parents, and his mother is now unable to care for them due to medical treatments, Seitz said.
Seitz said he was on the phone with his client the night they were demanding she turn over the kids to them. He called the Kapolei watch commander and said he would call the FBI and the media if the officers didn’t leave, and they left.
“The problem is the Police Department is responsive when he makes complaints, beyond the limits of his authority, and they seem to do his bidding,” Seitz said.
Cachola’s police powers were removed in April, and he remains on restricted duty, the Honolulu Police Department said in an email.
HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said when officers respond to child custody disputes, they rely on court documents and the information provided by the involved parties.
“They do their best to remain neutral in emotionally charged situations,” she said.
Nanci Kreidman, chief executive officer of the Domestic Violence Action Center, said Seitz accurately describes what many of the center’s clients have gone through over the years.
Kreidman said she and other domestic violence experts tried to partner with HPD by setting up the “Safe on Scene” program, in which they respond with a trained advocate to help survivors when officers are called to domestic violence cases. But they have received only infrequent calls.
After three years of attempts, the program ended Dec. 31.
She said they tried to work with Chief Susan Ballard, but to no avail.
Seitz said he has sued HPD on their policy and practice of protecting officers involved in domestic abuse situations, and blames Ballard for refusing to take action.
“Being terrorized by the Police Department — they don’t think that’s a big deal,” he said. “This could turn deadly at any time.”