DV advocates criticize sentence for former HPD Officer convicted of abuse

DV advocates criticize sentence for former HPD Officer convicted of abuse
Published: Sep. 30, 2015 at 8:06 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2015 at 9:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Honolulu Police Officer will not serve any jail time for beating his girlfriend last year, and the crimes could eventually be wiped from his record.

Danson Cappo, who was on the force for two years, was sentenced to probation and the criminal charges could then be removed from his record.  A practice domestic violence advocates say they will fight to get rid of.

"When we start pleading down crimes and eliminating incarceration and reducing sentences and providing options for wiping records clean, that conveys, in our opinion, the wrong message," says Nanci Kreidman, CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center.  "We're going to try to inspire some of these conversations with our elected leaders and maybe do some adjustments."

The 23-year old victim spoke exclusively to Hawaii News Now after Cappo was indicted earlier this year.  She detailed the abuse she endured for more than a year.  She had a temporary restraining order granted after he threatened to crash her car, held his HPD service weapon to her head, even tried to smother her with a pillow.

But in March of last year, he beat her in the car, so badly that she went to the hospital and finally called police.

Cappo told her that his fellow officers wouldn't believe her,

"He would say, I'm a police officer and you're just a civilian, who's word are they going to take?" the woman said.

But the officers did believe her and Cappo was arrested for domestic violence. But he later pleaded to third degree assault, a misdemeanor.  The woman told me she didn't know about the change until after the fact and from sources other than the prosecutor's office.  She was disappointed by that and then after Tuesday's sentence, she says she doesn't know what to think about the system.

Domestic violence advocates say Cappo's sentence discourages victims from coming forward and that more needs to be done to make sure abusers can't have their records expunged.

"For sentencing in the future... for custody decisions," says Kreidman, "That information needs to be available."

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