Police react to palace takeover response

Police Chief Boisse Correa
Police Chief Boisse Correa

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU-- (KHNL) Iolani Palace leaders say takeovers at one of Hawaii's most sacred places, have hit a boiling point and for the first time Honolulu Police talk about what's being called a questionable response.

The grounds re-opened Monday, but the palace itself remains closed after the attempted takeover.

Friday night's incident is calling into question how the Honolulu Police Department responded.

The palace's executive director says an officer saw an assault taking place but simply walked away.

"Hi I'm calling from Iolani Palace," said the Palace 9-11 caller.

Friday just after 6pm, an Iolani Palace worker sensed that something was wrong. A Honolulu police officer in the area was called to assess the scene.

"The supervisor went there saw a commotion, stopped, came back, calmed the commotion down," said Police Chief Boise Correa.

That's where the breakdown in communication started. Police say the experienced officer never reported information from the incident.

nothing of an attempted burglary or the attempt to take over the palace.

"I didn't see anything other than a car accident," said the 9-11 operator.

Iolani Palace's executive director calls the officers response extremely unacceptable.

"One of our employees was assaulted by a group that's taken over and the HPD officer who was here just left and he refused to help. He said it was the responsibility of the state," said the 9-11 caller.

"If we do have that officer in our police force they should no longer be police officers, so we're looking at this very seriously," said Chief Correa.

While the palace is under state control, Chief Correa says Honolulu Police has concurrent jurisdiction, which basically means HPD has the duty to aid other agencies anywhere at anytime. About 60-officers were part of Friday night's response.

"Are we 100% no, we always make mistakes, that's why you have critiques after the event," said Chief Correa.

As the state's attorney general's office evaluates the incident, Honolulu Police stand by their response and are hopeful the investigation's findings will back up Friday's procedures.

The governor, mayor and other public safety officials will meet to assess the incident's response to see if things could have been done better.