Settlement reached in lawsuit against an HPD officer accused of abusing his power
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has settled a lawsuit accusing a Honolulu Police officer of improperly arresting a Kaneohe teenager who got into a fight with his son.
Lawyers said Officer Kirk Uemura had a clear conflict of interest when he arrested the boy back in Nov. 2018 on the Kalaheo High School campus.
They said the blatant conflict explains why the city settled the case just three months after it was filed.
“It raises the issue of vigilante justice where the officer is just using his personal police powers to handle a personal dispute,” said Attorney Victor Bakke.
The terms of the settlement remain confidential until the Honolulu City Council approves the deal.
Attorneys Eric Seitz and Terry Revere, attorneys for the boy’s parents, had no comment.
The city also did not respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit received a lot of attention because it was the latest in a string of cases involving police officers who took part in investigations that involved family and friends.
The most publicized case being that of former police chief Louis Kealoha, who was convicted of abusing his police powers to frame the uncle of his wife Katherine Kealoha.
Because of those cases, members of the Honolulu Police Commission urged HPD to adopt a more strict conflict of interest policy.
“There’s nothing specifically in the police code of ethics that prohibits employees from actions that create or give an appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Honolulu Police Commission member Michael Broderick in a November commission meeting.
HPD said that officers are bound by the city’s conflict of interest policies and are required to be impartial in cases they handle.
An HPD investigation did conclude that Officer Uemura committed misconduct, but the boy’s family said his punishment has not yet been made public.
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