Woman shares inappropriate images she says Maui officer at center of misconduct case sent her
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County prosecutors the Maui police officer in the center of a misconduct and abuse of power case is facing a federal probe.
But in the meantime, Maui Police Officer Brandon Saffeels is facing a state investigation. Last week, his bail money returned and he was released from any restrictions.
That’s got the women who came forward to make allegations against him fearful of retaliation.
Saffeels was arrested on Aug. 26 on suspicion of hindering prosecution and tampering with a witness after three women came forward to Hawaii News Now to report that he was harassing them.
[Read more: MPD seeks to restore trust after officer accused of ‘repulsive acts’ is charged]
Since then, a fourth woman has provided details about a similar encounter with the four-year veteran of the force. That woman shared pictures that he sent her. Some show him in his patrol car, another shows him working out. And one shows him shirtless, lying down.
The latest woman to come forward, who did not want her name used, says Saffeels approached her in January 2018 while she was working on a car in the neighborhood.
He asked if she had heard gunshots in the area then took her drivers license and personal information. Within minutes, she says he started sending her inappropriate messages.
Another woman had an audio recording where Saffeels offers to throw his testimony at her DUI trial if she went over to his house.
Several women had text messages propositioning them.
Since the Maui County Prosecuting Attorney did not file charges, Saffeels was released with no restrictions.
The women were furious at the news, one worrying, “If he jumps on a plane he could be out of here."
Three of the women are being represented by attorney Michael Green. They met Tuesday to discuss their fear of retaliation.
They also don’t understand why Maui County prosecutors didn’t charge Saffeels while federal prosecutors continued their investigation.
“Very concerning knowing that he may possibly get away with this and nothings being done," one woman told Hawaii News Now.
Green says Maui County could have filed charges in the meantime and dismissed those charges when the feds were ready to move,
“I have no idea why they didn’t go ahead, have them set new conditions of bail," Green said.
Don Guzman, Maui County’s prosecuting attorney, provided the following statement to Hawaii News Now:
“The case(s) involving Defendant Saffeels will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Hawaii. Therefore, jurisdiction at this point resides with the federal government and not the state or county governments. Hawaii law precludes a dual prosecution once the U.S. Attorneys Office retains jurisdiction over the matter. Furthermore, any pretrial matters involving bail, etc., will also be handled by the U.S. Attorneys Office.”
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