Advocates question HPD's handling of domestic violence case invo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Advocates question HPD's handling of domestic violence case involving former officer

(Image: Surveillance Video) (Image: Surveillance Video)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Honolulu Police Department is facing criticism again for its handling of a domestic violence case involving a former officer.

Police were called to the Ewa home of former HPD Sgt. Darren Cachola over the weekend after his wife reported that he was choking her. 

He was not arrested, but was instead given a 48-hour no-contact order.

The responding officer's report says that when he arrived, Cachola was still there with the wife and children. He noted that the wife changed her story, claiming it was just an argument and she did not have any injuries.  

The officer, though, made a different observation: "I did see redness around her neck," the report said. "Due to the fact that there was redness … I felt that there was a chance of another incident and I also felt that (she) was not being completely honest.”

Attorney Jeff Willard, a former deputy prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit, said even without the victim's cooperation, the officers could have taken Cachola in. "The 911 call and the officer's observations on the scene seems like there's plenty of evidence to do an arrest," he said.

Cachola was not arrested on Sept. 9, 2014 either, after he was caught on surveillance video fighting with his ex-girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant.

He was later fired for unprofessional behavior but is currently trying to get his HPD job back.  He works as an armed, airport police officer with Securitas.

State Rep. Della Au Belatti is part of the Women's Legislative Caucus, which met with top HPD leaders after the 2014 Cachola incident. The caucus was concerned that HPD wasn't taking domestic violence seriously, especially when it comes to cases involving their own.  

"It is disturbing, it is concerning," Au Belatti said about the latest incident involving Cachola and the decision by police leaders not to take action.

"They need to follow their policies and procedures and if it's discovered that they have not consistently and in an even-handed manner followed their polices and procedures to effect an arrest if it was warranted then clearly this is preferential treatment and leadership needs to be taken to task."

Women lawmakers plan to ask HPD's Acting Chief Cary Okimoto for clarification on the department's handling. HPD issued a statement to Hawaii News Now saying they could not comment on the investigation because it is ongoing.

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