Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro defended his office’s decision to ask a grand jury to review a possible domestic violence case involving a police sergeant.
On Thursday, Kaneshiro issued a press release saying that recent criticism he received for not charging Sgt. Darren Cachola himself was “uninformed and wrong.”
“Taking the case to a grand jury wasn’t about looking for a way out,” Kaneshiro said in a statement. “It was about finding the most effective strategy to obtain and present all the facts and have an independent decision made.”
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro stands by his decision to take the Darren Cachola case to a grand jury.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
Cachola was caught on surveillance video last month taking repeated swings at his girlfriend at a Waipahu restaurant. Police were called to the scene but no arrest was made and no reports filed.
When the video leaked to the media it set off a political firestorm that encircled the Honolulu Police Department and its handling of domestic violence cases.
But after an investigation, HPD Police Chief Louis Kealoha said there wasn’t enough evidence for his department to pursue criminal charges against Cachola and that he was passing the case on to the prosecutor’s office.
Kealoha also noted that an administrative investigation into the matter was ongoing for both Cachola and the responding officers. The results of those investigations are pending.
Kaneshiro outlined why HPD was unable to find sufficient evidence to press for charges against Cachola, including the fact that the girlfriend said the two were just horse-playing.
The full video also did not make clear who the aggressor was at the restaurant, Kaneshiro said. There were also no physical injuries to the girlfriend.
Another obstacle for HPD was the fact that witnesses at the restaurant were not willing to provide statements. Kaneshiro said by convening a grand jury he was able to compel those uncooperative witnesses to testify under oath.
“Members of the grand jury are allowed to question the witnesses as well as police officers called to the scene and detectives who follow up,” Kaneshiro said. “All the available evidence can be offered for their consideration.”