Once every nine days, on average, a Honolulu police officer is disciplined for misconduct. Nearly one in four of those incidents can be classified as criminal behavior — assaults, domestic violence, fleeing the scene of an accident, even criminal convictions.
From 2000 through 2012, 463 Honolulu police officers committed 512 acts of misconduct ranging from missing court dates and swearing at citizens to beating up suspects and sexual assault, according to summaries filed with the Legislature.
Twelve officers lost their jobs although the summaries reflect that 25 were discharged. In fact, eight were reinstated through the grievance process after the summaries were sent to the Legislature officers and two others were allowed to resign.
Civil Beat used the summaries to build a database of all the disciplinary actions taken against officers with the Honolulu Police Department, by far the largest police force in the state. The summaries consist of a brief description of the misconduct, a police department listing of what internal “standards of conduct” were violated and the disciplinary action taken — discharge or suspension and the number of days suspended.
The summaries don’t include names, dates, places or any information that could help the public understand why specific disciplinary action is taken or not. It’s not possible to tell if multiple incidents involve the same officer, and police officials won’t talk about specific incidents.
Disciplinary actions range from a day’s suspension to discharge. Frequently, similar offenses — for instance, an officer getting in a car accident and trying to cover up the facts — result in vastly different penalties. There is no explanation.
Reprimands and other measures, such as remedial training, are not included in the reports. Verbal and written reprimands are not public under the law.
Civil Beat classified each incident of wrongdoing into 22 categories based on the type of offense. They include assault, domestic violence, lying, falsification of records, intimidation, abuse of prisoners or suspects, insubordination and criminal convictions. Incidents that seemed to be clearly administrative in nature were classified as such.
Some of the incidents are classified in multiple categories — for instance, assault as well as criminal conviction.
Here’s our breakdown of the 512 documented incidents by classification: