Two Honolulu police officers are on desk duty and could face criminal charges after they allegedly assaulted a prisoner earlier this year, the Honolulu Police Department said. 

HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said that HPD opened an investigation into injuries sustained by a prisoner in a cellblock on Jan. 4.

“A second-degree assault case was made and two officers were placed on restricted duty,” Yu said in an email Thursday. 

HPD Honolulu Police Department vehicle parked along Kalakaua Avenue.
HPD declined to provide detailed information about the alleged assault. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

A criminal case was sent to prosecutors in February, Yu said, and an administrative investigation into the incident is ongoing.    

The officers under investigation are Thomas-John Kaanana and Judah Kekua, according to a department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. As of 2020, both were HPD recruits, according to Civil Beat’s government employee database.

Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm’s office hasn’t filed charges against them, court records show.   

“The case has not been declined by our office,” Alm spokesman Matt Dvonch said. “It is still open and being reviewed.” 

Contacted at HPD’s Kapolei office on Thursday, Kaanana declined to comment. Civil Beat left messages with Kekua but did not receive a response. 

Yu declined to provide any further information, including the time and location of the incident, the extent of the prisoner’s injuries and whether there is body camera footage or other video evidence.  

She also denied a request to see police reports, including the officers’ use of force report, and did not respond to a request for the arrest logs from early January.

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