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But what the summaries don’t show is that eight of those officers actually remained on the force, their discharges overturned after appeal through the union grievance process. Two others were allowed to resign.
The 12 officers who did lose their jobs were disciplined for misconduct that included sexual assault, stealing, interfering in investigations and trying to cover up their crimes.
Few details are available about what the officers did to be discharged. The summaries provided by HPD to the Legislature are so vague it’s even difficult to match HPD’s summary to public records, such as court cases and media reports.
“Pled guilty to conspiring to deprive civil rights,” is an entry on the 2001 summary. “Dismissal.”
Some summary entries don’t tell the whole story.
“Failed to inform dispatch of status and location and failed to initiate a report for domestic argument. Transported the complainant to another district without the supervisor’s approval. Conducted personal business while on duty.”
That was the entry in the 2012 summary for Officer James Easley, who’s termination letter is dated Sept. 23, 2011. The letter says Easley handled a domestic argument on Kuhio Avenue involving a woman and her husband. But he failed to document the incident and left his district without permission to give the woman a ride home and didn’t respond to calls for service. Instead, the letter says, he took the woman to an unknown location where he had sex with her.
Many officers who were initially fired by the police chief also got their jobs back. From 2000 to 2012, annual reports to the Legislature show that HPD issued 25 discharge notices. HPD told Civil Beat that those terminations actually involved only 22 officers. Twelve of the the officers were fired, two were allowed to resign and eight were reinstated, according to HPD.
For the officers who got their jobs back or who were allowed to resign, Hawaii law allows their misconduct to be kept secret by the police agency.
State law does require police officials to release the names and disciplinary files of officers once they are discharged.
Through a public records request, Civil Beat did obtain the names of 10 officers who lost their jobs, but HPD refused to release the names of two others discharged for failing departmental drug tests, citing “medical privacy reasons.” According to the legislative reports, at least one of those officers tested positive for methamphetamine.
Civil Beat has appealed HPD’s decision to withhold the names of those officers to the Hawaii Office of Information Practices and is waiting for a response.
Police officials also wouldn’t release the names of those who were initially discharged then reinstated or those who were allowed to resign.
Disciplinary files and other records about the misconduct have been largely destroyed by the department. The only records still available, according to Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu, are for three officers discharged in 2012.
HPD agreed to release those files to Civil Beat under a public records request at a cost of more than $2,000. Civil Beat gave HPD a check for $1,004 — half the cost is required to start the process — but as of publication, only 15 pages have been released. (An upcoming story in this series discusses that request, the public records process and HPD’s records retention policies.)
Below is what we know about misconduct that initially resulted in a discharge but was later overturned or rendered moot when an officer resigned. The information comes directly from annual reports given to the Legislature.
|Incident||Year||Summary of misconduct|
|1||2001||Pled guilty to conspiring to deprive civil rights.|
|2||2001||Pled guilty to accessory after the fact to obstruction of justice.|
|3||2001||While intoxicated got into an argument with a “significant other” and threatened that person with an issued firearm.|
|4||2001||While intoxicated got into an argument with a “significant other” and struck that person. On another date, while intoxicated, pinned a “significant other” against a parked vehicle with another vehicle.|
|5||2001||Was involved in a motor vehicle collision while off duty, and failed to immediately report the collision. Falsely reported a motor vehicle theft as well as falsified the motor vehicle collision report.|
|6||2001||Pled no contest to the offense of false reporting to law enforcement authorities|
|7||2002||Got into verbal and physical confrontation with “significant other” and significant other’s estranged spouse.|
|8||2002||Pled no contest in a false reporting case.|
|9||2002||Failed to properly classify a case, arrest the suspect and obtain written statements. Was also discourteous and failed to provide required information.|
|10||2005||Failed to identify a suspect, misled police investigators and attempted to cover up an incident involving another officer. Provided false testimony and falsified a report.|
|11||2005||Fled the scene of a motor vehicle collision and failed to render aid to an injured motorist. Failed to provide information and report the incident. Was insubordinate. Left police-issued equipment and a firearm unattended and unsecured in the vehicle. Was untruthful during an administrative investigation.|
|12||2005||Conspired to commit crimes. Violated departmental operations and procedures.|
|13||2005||Assaulted a citizen.|
The following table is the list of officers who were actually discharged for misconduct along with a brief description from HPD of what each did.
|Incident||Year||Name||Description of the incident|
|1||2001||Tracey Tossey||Failed to initiate a motor vehicle collision report then made a false report about the collision.|
|2||2001||Sean Kam||Refused to provide a statement regarding a theft and forgery and advised a witness not to provide a statement.|
|3||2003||Gordon Keliikipi||Illegally transferred money into his personal account.|
|4||2003||Gerry Gallardo||Sexually assaulted a female.|
|5||2005||Name not released||Tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine during drug urinalysis.|
|6||2008||James Urban||Left the scene of a collision.|
|7||2010||Ronald Weston||Drank intoxicating beverages while on duty. On the same day, he made rude and derogatory remarks to two members of the public.|
|8||2010||Roosevelt Blanco||Was off duty and at home on New Year’s Eve when he fired several different firearms into the air.|
|9||2011||Name not released||Failed department drug test in 2009.|
|10||2012||Shayne Souza||Was in an illegally parked van in Las Vegas. Police searched the vehicle and found marijuana. When ordered out of the vehicle, Souza fled on foot and refused to get on the ground and submit to arrest.|
|11||2012||James Easley||Handled a domestic argument between a complainant and husband. Didn’t notify dispatch or document the incident. Took the complainant to her residence via an HPD vehicle without supervisor approval. Didn’t respond to calls for service. Had sex with the woman at an undisclosed location.|
|12||2012||Michael Tarmoun||Convicted of one count of sexual assault in the second degree, which is a Class B felony. As a convicted felon Tarmoun no longer met the minimum requirement to be a police officer because he can’t carry a gun.|
Click here to read all the stories in Civil Beat’s special report, In The Name Of The Law.
Here are Easley, Souza and Tarmoun’s discharge letters, obtained by Civil Beat through a public records request.