Ben Mahi, a former Honolulu police officer Mayor Rick Blangiardi nominated to serve on the Honolulu Police Commission, has withdrawn his name from consideration.
A resolution regarding Mahi’s nomination had been slated for the City Council’s agenda for Wednesday but was removed on Tuesday.
“I hope to have another applicant for your consideration in the near future,” Blangiardi wrote in a short letter to council members Tuesday that announced Mahi’s decision.
Mahi did not respond to a request for comment.
Civil Beat asked the mayor’s office for more information. But in an email, Blangiardi Communications Director Tim Sakahara only reiterated the mayor’s message and did not explain the reason for the change of plans.
The Honolulu Police Commission provides oversight to the department and has the power to hire and fire the police chief. It also investigates complaints made against officers and recommends disciplinary action.
Mahi’s selection had sparked some pushback, including ethics concerns about his impartiality given that he is a former HPD officer and his longtime partner is an HPD lieutenant.
“These two factors alone should exclude Mr. Mahi, any retired police officer and/or a family member of a current HPD officer from serving on the Police Commission,” Michael Golojuch, Jr., leader of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, wrote in written testimony to the Council.
“We need a commissioner who is representative of the people directly impacted by the criminal legal system,” she said. “This will signal to the community that the City and County of Honolulu sees the community as equitable stakeholders and is committed to earning public confidence.”
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