2 years later, officers accused in corruption case still getting paychecks
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police Lt. Derek Hahn, Officer Bobby Nguyen and Sgt. Danny Sellers are still paid Honolulu police officers ― more than two years after the Department of Justice sent them target letters and about 18 months after they were indicted by a federal grand jury.
Ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha put himself on leave and was later forced to retire. He was given a taxpayer-funded pay off of $250,000.
Former HPD Major Gordon Shiraishi retired.
Hahn, Nguyen and Sellers had their police powers removed and were put on unpaid leave.
HPD Chief Susan Ballard said the department tried to keep it that way, but couldn’t.
“We were told we could not do that by civil service,” she said Tuesday, at a news conference, “We have to follow civil service rules, we have to follow the collective bargaining agreement."
Other officers had been fired ahead of criminal trials, but that’s because the administrative, internal investigations were done simultaneously. That was not possible with the federal investigation because the FBI did not share any of the evidence collected or details on the case.
Malcolm Lutu, president of SHOPO, says the officers deserve an internal investigation first and the presumption of innocence.
“We still have to wait for the conclusion of the case to find out if the officers are found not guilty or guilty. If they’re found not guilty, it’s like a crime hasn’t happened," Lutu said.
He pleaded guilty to sharing confidential information with ex-deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, his longtime friend, about the investigation into her mailbox that was reported stolen.
Federal prosecutors say the mailbox theft never happened and was part of an effort by Kealoha and the others to frame a man for a crime.
The prosecutors also said in court, that Sellers is the only one who did not participate in the alleged conspiracy.
Sellers’ crime of sharing information is a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one year probation and community service and he is fighting to keep his job.
Lutu says now that the criminal case is complete for Sellers, the internal review begins to determine if Sellers gets to keep his badge and gun.
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