HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police Chief Louis Kealoha announced Wednesday that Major Ryan Borges will decline his controversial promotion to assistant chief.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after a Hawaii News Now report highlighting Borges' past, and airing community concerns about the decision to promote Borges to HPD's third-highest rank.
Kealoha issued the following statement Wednesday:
On Tuesday, Hawaii News Now reported that HPD was looking into new criticism of Borges, whose promotion initially caused controversy because of his arrest for domestic abuse 23 years ago. Then, a new wrinkle in the story was added last week, when Borges sent out a letter asking colleagues to offer their support for his promotion.
"The letter made it worse," said Honolulu Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi. "It was a topic of conversation everywhere, especially among the women's caucus."
Ernie Martin, City Council chairman and a friend of Borges, agreed the letter is probably what caused the most problems.
"His emotions got the best of him, you know this is probably something he's worked for his whole career. And seeing that this promotion was in jeopardy, he reacted emotionally rather than rationally."
In the letter, he asks for support in times of -- what he calls -- a spiritual attack. And he labels detractors the enemy.
"The enemy is trying to slander my reputation by bringing up a matter that has long since been resolved," Borges wrote. "If the holy spirit speaks to you, can you please write a short character reference letter for me."
The major was convicted of domestic violence in 1993, when he threatened his wife with his gun. While his police powers were still removed in 1995, he was promoted to sergeant. In 2001, he received a pardon from the governor at the time, Ben Cayetano so that he could keep his job. That same year, he was promoted to lieutenant.
In 2006 and 2014, temporary restraining orders were filed against him. Both were eventually dropped.
And in 2014, he was promoted to major.