Honolulu police officer Garret Davis was helping a stranded motorist on the H1 freeway on Jan. 21, 2012, when a pick-up truck slammed into his patrol car and killed him. He was 28 years old.
More than four years later, the driver of that vehicle, Scott Ebert, of Mililani, has been put on trial for manslaughter. Court proceedings are ongoing, and closing arguments are expected Friday.
But an added wrinkle in the case has led the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to file a complaint with the Honolulu Police Department’s internal affairs division over the actions of one of its officers.
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Civil Beat, HPD officer Daryl Takata reached out to Davis’ sister, Amanda Stevens, in November, to tell her that prosecutors were planning to drop the manslaughter case against Ebert. There were no such plans.
The complaint states that Takata, who is a corporal, identified himself as a detective and told Stevens that she should contact Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano to see if she could help. Kawano is well-known for her reports about the internal dealings of HPD and other law enforcement agencies. Kawano and her husband had bought Takata’s landscaping business, Lawn and Order, in September 2015.
Deputy prosecutor Adrian Dhakhwa, the state’s lead attorney in the Ebert case, filed the complaint against Takata. Dhakhwa wrote in the complaint that there was “no truth whatsoever” to the claim that his office was dropping the charges against Ebert. He added that Stevens had to be “comforted and reassured” that the case was proceeding.
“Whether this was Takata’s idea or he was simply the messenger for Lynn Kawano, I have no idea, but at a minimum it is irresponsible and misleading,” Dhakhwa said.
“As the assigned deputy prosecutor handling the case, I know for a fact that Daryl Takata is not the assigned detective for the case, and he is not connected to the case in an official capacity as a police officer. Additionally, it was even more outrageous to have this kind of ‘news’ come out on the day before Thanksgiving to the victim’s family.”
Dhakhwa told Civil Beat in a phone interview that the incident didn’t sit well with his office and that “it wouldn’t have been right to just let it go.” He said it doesn’t appear that Takata had committed any crimes, and that he was just acting in “poor judgment.”
An HPD spokeswoman said the department would not comment on its investigation into Takata because it is ongoing.
Stevens said she didn’t want Dhakhwa’s complaint to detract from the memory of her brother or Ebert’s trial. She added that she felt that the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has acted appropriately in how it has approached the case despite the delays.
“We have been happy with how the prosecuting attorneys have been handling the case,” Stevens said. “The phone call in November was a side issue that’s been taken care of. It was a small, little moment in taking this case to trial.”
Kawano referred questions to Hawaii News Now News Director Mark Platte. He said in an email that he has no idea why Hawaii News Now and Kawano would be included in the complaint, since his station has never reported on the court case involving Davis’ death.
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