HPD officer's ex-girlfriend speaks out about alleged abuse

Cop's ex-girlfriend speaks out about alleged abuse

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The ex-girlfriend of a Honolulu police officer tells Hawaii News Now he abused her for more than a year, and that she was too afraid to get help.

"He would say, 'I'm a police officer and you're just a civilian, whose word are they going to take?'"

The woman, who doesn't want her name on television, says Officer Danson Cappo repeatedly beat her over the course of their relationship. She says they started dating while he was still in the police academy but the abuse didn't start until months later.

"You think it's just going to happen one time, and you fall into this cycle."

The Temporary Restraining Order she was granted details some of the alleged attacks. She says he tried to push and shove her out of his car one night. Slashed her tires another night, and even once tried to smother her with a pillow. But, the scariest incident, happened in September of 2013. She says Cappo pulled his HPD issued gun out during a fight.

"He pointed it at me and back to himself and back at me and again back to himself... It wasn't the first time he pulled it on himself but for him to pull it on me, I really thought I was never going to see anyone again."

She says she was too afraid to report it, until one night last March.

"The last night of the abuse, the last event, I still believed, I still believed that (other officers) weren't going to believe me."

She says that last event, resulted in her going to the hospital. She had a black eye, bruises on her arms, and a head injury.

"The first thing I told the officers, you have to help me. And I know there's a really good chance you're not going to believe me."

But, she says, the responding officers did believe her. One officer, in particular, listened to her entire story.

"(He was) the epitome of what a police officer should be. He was fair, he had integrity, he was respectful. He made me feel like I was talking to a family member and I was so thankful."

Cappo was arrested that night last March. And last week, a grand jury indicted him for assault, theft and criminal property damage.

His gun has been taken away, and he has been on desk duty for almost a year now.

Cathy Betts, of the State Commission on the Status of Women says Cappo should have been fired, "The grand jury has already indicted and he's still on the job, still a police officer, still in charge of cases, it's unacceptable."

"It sends the wrong message to victims, it sends the wrong message to the community," says Marci Lopes, of the State Coalition against Domestic Violence.

Victims advocates testified at state hearings after a violent video involving a police sergeant surfaced last year. That sergeant was never charged, but the case triggered new training for HPD officers on handling domestic violence cases.

"My faith has definitely grown," says Cappo's ex-girlfriend. She says her experience with the other officers has led her to believe that the culture in HPD is changing. She is telling her story because she wants other victims to know that there is help and that they shouldn't be afraid to ask.

HPD declined to comment on why Cappo has not been fired or disciplined, but sources say the department is waiting for the outcome of the upcoming trial before making a decision.

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