HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's chief of police on Monday responded to the public outcry over the handling of a felony theft complaint against a high-ranking officer's son.
With the controversy surrounding his son -- and with just two weeks left until his retirement -- Deputy Police Chief Delbert Tatsuyama still made the effort to appear at a public event Monday. He stood among the rest of the HPD command staff at the proclamation signing for Police Week.
"You know, it's the personal side, not the professional side, so he's dealing with it really well and as best as can be," Chief Louis Kealoha, Honolulu Police Department, said.
Sources say his son, Cory Tatsuyama, 24, was detained by security personnel at Nordstrom Ala Moana last Wednesday for allegedly stealing about $800 worth of merchandise. But the suspect was cut loose at the scene, reportedly after identifying himself as the son of HPD's second-highest ranking officer, raising questions about preferential treatment.
Police say Cory Tatsuyama was let go because the store withdrew its complaint. Nordstrom denies ever doing that.
The suspect turned himself in for booking at HPD headquarters two days later.
The chief of police on Monday responded to the public outcry.
"Well, you know, it's with his son. It's not with the deputy chief," Kealoha said. "The first thing, the cases were made, police were called, we did the investigation and the son was just arrested this past week. So it has nothing to do with Chief Tatsuyama."
Officers booked Cory Tatsuyama on suspicion of second-degree theft, a class C felony, and then released him pending further investigation.
"The concerns I had was just one," Keith Kaneshiro, Honolulu prosecutor, said. "It's just unfortunate there's a relation to the deputy chief."
Prosecutors say if HPD sends them the case, they will treat it like any other.
"What will happen is the police will investigate and they'll refer the case to the office," Kaneshiro said. "Then we'll look at the case and decide what charges to bring."