Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha is under a city ethics commission investigation for possible abuse of power for how he handled a case involving his stolen mailbox.

The underlying incident is a messy one, and involves a tense family dispute between Kealoha’s wife, Katherine Kealoha, who is a city prosecutor, and her uncle Gerard Puana, whom she accused of the theft.

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha looks on as members of the public testify at Police Commission meeting held at HPD headquarters conference room A. 17dec2014. photo Cory Lum

HPD Chief Louis Kealoha’s missing mailbox has caused him nothing but problems.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii News Now reporter Keoki Kerr has the scoop on the ethics probe, citing unnamed sources, some of whom are within the Honolulu Police Department.

According to Kerr’s report, there are questions about whether the chief overstepped his authority in assigning a special crime HPD task force to investigate the mailbox case. One of the officers was a homicide detective.

There’s also concern over a possible cover-up. Kerr’s sources told him the mailbox theft police report said the HPD Crime Reduction Unit was only involved in Puana’s arrest. It didn’t mention that the officers had performed days of surveillance on Puana beforehand.

The ethics inquiry seems to rehash some of the allegations raised by Puana’s attorney, Alexander Silvert, who is a federal public defender. Silvert said his client was framed by the Kealohas to help them in a civil lawsuit Puana had filed against the chief’s wife.

Silvert’s argument was bolstered by the chief’s inappropriate testimony during Puana’s criminal trial that resulted in the case being thrown out and referred to the FBI for possible investigation.

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