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Police commission nominee withdraws after raising eyebrows over comments on discrimination

Published: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:19 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:21 AM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said Friday that his nominee to the Honolulu Police Commission has withdrawn from consideration following statements on racial discrimination in the islands that drew concern from City Councilmembers.

Former Indiana police officer Larry Ignas was also criticized for what some claimed was a potential bias toward officers and a lack of experience with minority communities.

In a statement, Blangiardi called Ignas a “principled man ... (who) came highly recommended.”

“However, under the circumstances and given the expectations, he is withdrawing his name from consideration to the Honolulu Police Commission,” Blangiardi said.

“I will work on vetting a new candidate to nominate to this very important position. Initially, I felt it was necessary to have someone with law enforcement experience, however that will not be one of my requirements moving forward and we will see where it takes us from here.”

At a Council meeting earlier this week, Ignas said his experience working with minority communities came from his experiences working with employees over the last 30 years in Hawaii.

“Marshallese, Filipino, Hawaiians ― they all know I’ve been a fair boss. I’ve been a great guy toward them all and I don’t look at it racially. I treat everybody equal,” Ignas said, at a City Council meeting.

He was asked by Councilmember Esther Kiaaina: “But do you acknowledge that racial discrimination exists in Hawaii?” His response: “I have never seen any and I’ve been here 33 years.”

That comment and others prompted the City Council to hold off on making a decision on the nomination.

This story will be updated.

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