HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii law professor Ken Lawson believes a video of Honolulu police Sgt. Darren Cachola appearing to strike his girlfriend is enough evidence to charge him with assault.
"I think he should have been charged right then," he said. "The videotape demonstrates that he's beating her like she's a man. Does that mean there's significant evidence to convict him? I'm not saying that. But there's sufficient evidence for them to charge him, arrest him, and go through the process."
"I'm not a fan of perception. I'm a fan of reality," SHOPO president Tenari Maafala said
He understands public perception may be that cops are dragging their feet on the case to protect a fellow officer. He said HPD's investigation needs to be thorough.
"We don't want the chief to terminate Sgt. Cachola prematurely, and then be faced with a liability suit for not affording him his due process and wrongful termination. There's a whole gamut to be done to protect everybody involved."
The woman told police investigators the incident was a misunderstanding. She did not file a police complaint.
Nanci Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center said abusers should always be held responsible.
"Really for us the larger opportunity is that the Honolulu Police Department takes this seriously, is looking at ot carefully, and is amenable to strengthening its police response," she said.
It has been eight days since the incident happened in the Waipahu restaurant where the woman works. Lawson said the perceived delay in police action is hurting the department's image.
"It allows the public to look back at the police department and say, 'You know what's really going on here? You guys are trying to cover up for one of your own?'" he said.
"There's no cover up," Maafala said. "As a union official and a police officer, let alone a father and a husband, I would never ever condone something like that."