EXCLUSIVE: Police chief sues Ethics Commission trying to stop pr - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Police chief sues Ethics Commission trying to stop probe targeting him

  • News LinksMore>>

  • 17 city ethics probes halted by lack of investigator

    17 city ethics probes halted by lack of investigator

    Monday, July 20 2015 11:48 PM EDT2015-07-21 03:48:59 GMT
    Tuesday, July 21 2015 12:47 PM EDT2015-07-21 16:47:55 GMT
    The administration of Mayor Kirk Caldwell has refused to renew the contract of the city Ethics Commission's only investigator, bringing some politically sensitive ethics cases to a halt at the end of June.  More >>
    The administration of Mayor Kirk Caldwell has refused to renew the contract of the city Ethics Commission's only investigator, bringing some politically sensitive ethics cases to a halt at the end of June.  More >>
  • EXCLUSIVE: City Ethics Commission investigating HPD chief

    EXCLUSIVE: City Ethics Commission investigating HPD chief

    Friday, May 8 2015 3:36 AM EDT2015-05-08 07:36:46 GMT
    Friday, May 8 2015 4:00 AM EDT2015-05-08 08:00:07 GMT
     The Honolulu Ethics Commission is investigating Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to determine if he abused his power in a police investigation of his wife's uncle who was later charged with stealing a mailbox from the Kealoha home, sources told Hawaii News Now.More >>
     The Honolulu Ethics Commission is investigating Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to determine if he abused his power in a police investigation of his wife's uncle who was later charged with stealing a mailbox from the Kealoha home, sources told Hawaii News Now.
    More >>
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

In an unusual if not unprecedented move, Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has sued the city Ethics Commission, trying to get a court to stop an ethics probe targeting him and his wife.

For at least six months, the Ethics Commission has been investigating Kealoha and his wife Katherine, a top attorney in the city prosecutor's office. The commission is looking into whether the chief abused his power in a police probe of his wife's uncle, who they accused of stealing a mailbox from their home.

In an unusual move, HPD assigned a homicide detective to handle the mailbox case and specialized police units performed surveillance and later arrested the uncle. The case was later dismissed in federal court.

Using the pseudonym Doe and Roe to protect their “privacy interest,” the Kealohas filed the lawsuit in Circuit Court on Sept. 4, asking a judge to stop the city ethics investigation.  

Their suit said the city has "wrongfully refused" to provide them with a copy of the ”initiating information and/or other information upon which the investigation is/was based,” as well as investigative information and materials obtained in its ethics probe.

The lawsuit claimed both Ethics Commission Director Chuck Totto and the investigator who handled the case, retired HPD Captain Letha DeCaires, are "not qualified" to investigate them, partly because of what the suit claims is an unspecified "conflict of interest."  The lawsuit misspelled DeCaires’ last name as “DeCaries.”

The Kealohas claimed the commission's secrecy is inhibiting them from mounting a defense against the allegations.

The lawsuit goes on to say the Kealohas’ "ability to properly and fully investigate and respond to the allegations, prepare a defense, all while being required to provide voluminous information, have been severely handicapped by not being informed of the allegations to which they are expected to respond."

At a rally against domestic violence Thursday, Hawaii News Now tried to ask Kealoha if he and his wife filed the lawsuit, and he said, “That's no ... No comment.”

University of Hawaii law professor Kenneth Lawson said the Kealohas’ suit is meant to intimidate potential witnesses and investigators.

"I think this is just another tactic to try to fend off an investigation," Lawson said. "It's not an uncommon tactic to say I'm gonna go on the offensive.  The best defense is an offense. OK, so now I'm going to accuse you of being unfair to divert the attention away from me."

The Kealohas’ attorney did not return a phone message Thursday and the Ethics Commission declined comment.

In a second lawsuit filed July 8, Katherine Kealoha, using the fictitious name "public servant," sued the Ethics Commission, trying to get a judge to force the commission to provide her a copy of the ethics complaint against her. That lawsuit was later withdrawn. 

The ethics case is the least of the Kealohas’ concerns, since the FBI is also investigating the police chief's potential abuse of power in what could become a federal criminal probe.

To see the lawsuit, click here

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly