Woman says she complained to MPD a year ago about officer accused of inappropriate conduct

Woman says she complained to Maui police a year ago about officer accused of inappropriate conduct

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui officer who is under criminal investigation for allegedly trying to throw a criminal trial for a woman he arrested for DUI is now facing more allegations. Another woman claims Officer Brandon Saffeels tried to coerce her after he responded to her 911 call reporting an assault last year.

Hawaii News Now first reported on the allegations against the four-year MPD veteran on Tuesday.

In response to that report, the other woman came forward to HNN to say she’d also had a run-in and had reported inappropriate text messages he sent to her to the MPD’s Internal Affairs Division.

She doesn’t know what, if anything was done, because Saffeels was back on the streets within days.

“I started crying really hard because, for me, it’s unfortunate that I wasn’t heard and nobody would listen to me when it happened," said the woman, who didn’t want her name used.

She said the text messages started shortly after Saffeels left her home following the assault call last July.

She said she initially didn’t know who the text messages were from. She asked, “Who’s this?”

The reply: “The haole cop.”

The woman then asked him about getting information from the police report.

Later, he texts back: “Are you free later?”

She writes that she is picking up her kids. A subsequent text reads: “I can give you that and the report number. I need something in return lmao (laughing my ass off).”

Another text from Saffeels read: “I will get that for you as soon as I am done here. And I get anything I want?”

The woman said the texts quickly grew uncomfortable and “I could see the way he was leading the conversation, I ended it immediately and told him I’d contact MPD.”

The woman also said that she made an Internal Affairs complaint, but nothing was done.

The detective she spoke to, she said, insisted that she surrender her phone as evidence.

As a business owner and mother, she wasn’t willing to give up her phone. She did send screen grabs of the entire text string, and wonders why MPD didn’t seize Saffeels’ phone instead.

While the incident happened last year, state law protects officers who are disciplined so it’s unknown if any action was taken by MPD Internal Affairs.

The allegations against the officer come in the wake of claims from another woman, who said she got similar text messages from the officer last month after he arrested her for DUI.

That woman also recorded a phone conversation in which Saffeels offered to throw his testimony at her trial while repeatedly urging her to visit his home.

In response to the Hawaii News Now investigation, the Maui Police Department said it had launched a criminal case and asked anyone else with complaints or concerns to come forward.

“We want to assure everyone in our community that we have your safety in mind," said Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu said, in the statement.

When asked a series of follow-up questions Wednesday on the situation, the Maui Police Department responded that, “At this time, no action has been taken against Officer Saffeels because he is on vacation, which began before we were informed of the current allegations.”

The woman who had the run-in with Saffeels a year ago said she cringes at his name.

“It gives me chicken skin to know that this guy is still out there doing this, still on duty,” she said. She wants to know why he was still in patrol, able to allegedly harass another woman.

Lawyer Michael Green has the same concern.

“He’s apparently been terrorizing women on Maui for awhile and been given the opportunity by the department or internal affairs to continue," he said.

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