Governor holds meeting amid Iolani Palace controversy

Attorney General Mark Bennett
Attorney General Mark Bennett

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Linda Lingle held a meeting Tuesday to address the controversy surrounding Friday's break-in at the Iolani palace. The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has been under scrutiny over how it handled the incident.

Police Chief Boise Correa, and Attorney General Mark Bennett, were among those called to Lingle's closed-door meeting at the Capitol. After it ended, Bennet announced the outcome.

"The Governor sought and we received unconditional commitment to fight illegality and to protect persons and property regardless of whether or not the threats are on state property, county property, or private property," said Bennett.

The meeting comes amid allegations that an HPD officer refused to help an Iolani Palace employee who was assaulted during Friday's break-in.

In a 911 taped recording, a caller told a dispatcher, "He just left. He said it's the responsibility of the State."

Iolani Palace is state property. Confusion over jurisdiction also plays out in a 911 call an Iolani Palace security guard made to HPD.

"So there's no officers on scene? The Sheriff's?" asked the dispatcher.

"There had been but then they haven't done anything yet," said the guard.

"I understand that but you need to talk to them," said the dispatcher.

"If someone calls 911, there is going to be a response and the response will never be 'That's not our jurisdiction'. If there's a threat to persons or property, and someone calls 911, they are going to get a response irrespective of whether the property is state, county or private," said Bennett.

As for the officer in question during the assault, Bennett says he is investigating the case and will report his findings to the Governor within the next week.

Mayor Mufi Hanneman praised HPD's response to the break-in.

The Attorney General's Office has formally charged seven people with felonies in this case - six people for burglary, and one person for assault.

If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.