HPD finally done with internal investigation into Sgt. involved in violent video

HPD finally done with internal investigation into Sgt. involved in violent video
Published: Sep. 28, 2015 at 6:25 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 28, 2015 at 10:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than a year after a violent fight between a Honolulu police officer and his girlfriend was caught on surveillance video, the internal investigation is finally done.

HPD Sgt. Darren Cachola was not indicted for domestic violence but his own department could hand down stiff punishment against the 19-year veteran of the force.

The fight happened on September 9th, 2014.  Surveillance video from several businesses showed Cachola and his girlfriend grappling, and punching each other both outside and inside Kuni's Restaurant in Waipahu.

The woman testified on his behalf before the grand jury which ultimately declined to charge Cachola but the internal affairs investigation continued for more than a year.

"We want answers we want to move ahead with solutions," says Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, "They have to know that this is a serious matter."

Sources say the investigation into policy violations was delayed because one of the responding officers that night -- a key witness -- was on medical leave after being injured in an off-duty accident.  The additional time sparked even more outrage as many complained that HPD wasn't taking domestic abuse seriously, especially when it comes to their own.

Lawmakers formed the Domestic Violence Response Task Force, and held several meetings with department leaders to reassure the public.

"There is heightened public scrutiny and many of the women's organizations are very, very concerned," says Honolulu City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, "I think if anything, the police department and all of the state and county agencies know that we have to do a better job."

The council added $200,000 into the budget so they could hire more investigators just for domestic violence cases and they put money in the budget to outfit some detectives with body cameras.

Even thought the internal investigation is now complete, it could still be several more weeks before a decision is made on Cachola's future.   The findings of the case is heading to the assistant and deputy chiefs and ultimately, Chief Louis Kealoha will decide what if Cachola remains with the force.

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