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Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s pick for Police Commission withdraws nomination

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A former Honolulu police officer nominated to fill a vacancy in the Honolulu Police Commission has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who had nominated Benjamin Mahi, sent a memo to the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday of the decision. The City Council was scheduled today to formally consider Mahi’s nomination to fill a Police Commission vacancy set to expire at the end of 2025.

Mahi, a retired HPD officer who is married to a current HPD lieutenant, is chief of security at First Hawaiian Bank. He had worked with HPD for 16 years and served as a detective, lieutenant and captain.

The Police Commission serves as an oversight body to the Police Department, and there were concerns that Mahi’s ties to HPD may have led to a conflict of interest.

“There are some people in the advocacy community who are concerned, given his close contacts with HPD,” Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, said prior to Mahi’s withdrawal. “They are concerned about his ability to remain impartial.”

Blangiardi, in a news conference Friday, said Mahi was the best candidate for the position. Regarding Mahi’s ability to help keep HPD accountable, the mayor said, “I don’t see a reason why he would not be able to hold HPD accountable should he be selected to the Police Commission.”

Blangiardi’s office didn’t explain what prompted the withdrawal, but Tim Sakahara, communications director for Blangiardi, in a statement said, “Ben Mahi has withdrawn his name from consideration to the Honolulu Police Commission. The Mayor will review qualified candidates to nominate to the position as soon as possible.”


Star-Advertiser reporter Peter Boylan contributed to this story.

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