More than half of the officers disciplined in 2022 were referred to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

Eight officers in the Honolulu Police Department were suspended or discharged in 2022 for violent incidents involving the mistreatment of prisoners and in some instances using excessive force to detain people.

In all, HPD disciplined 22 police officers in 14 cases last year, according to the department’s annual police misconduct report filed with the Legislature on Tuesday.

HPD referred 12 cases to prosecutors for possible criminal conduct, many involving second degree assault charges.

Two of the officers discharged last year who may also face charges for their misconduct are Thomas-John Kaanana and Judah Kekua. HPD was investigating Kaanana and Kekua for allegedly assaulting a prisoner in 2021. The officers used excessive force when they grabbed a detainee and tried to remove the detainee’s clothes without justification, according to the report. The officers also struck the prisoner.

HPD Honolulu Police Department main station.
Eight Honolulu police officers were suspended or discharged in two cases of assault on prisoners. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022)

Kaanana also falsified a police report of the incident. HPD initiated second-degree assault cases against both officers. Criminal charges have not yet been filed, according to court records.

Officers Cole Dante, Sean Kim, Rayden Casamina, Ian Rosario and Eric Reis were all suspended 10 days for their roles in what appears to be the same incident based on the facts laid out in the disciplinary report, which describes the officers forcing a detainee onto a bench and trying to take the detainee’s clothes. Second-degree assault cases were initiated against each officer. Kim resigned prior to being suspended.

Another officer who may be tied to that case is Warren Rohr, who was suspended for 20 days. Rohr “failed to ensure that subordinates were properly supervised when they entered the detainee’s holding cell with the intention to take away the detainee’s clothing,” the report said.

Officer Corey Morgan was also discharged for a June 2020 incident where he slammed a burglary suspect’s head into a shelf while arresting him. Another officer discharged as part of that incident appears to be Matthew Ogoshi, who didn’t intervene to stop the assault and falsified police reports. Officers involved in that case may be facing federal charges, Hawaii News Now reported.

Two other HPD officers retired in 2022 before they were discharged. One was Gary Hunter who used another officer’s credentials to manipulate the department’s special duty system. Hunter worked and received compensation for special duty assignments meant for another officer, according to the report.

Another officer, Timothy Antoku, retired before he was terminated for yelling and berating people while off duty but still wearing an HPD uniform.

In all, HPD discharged six officers in 2022. The department discharged a seventh, Deeana Strikolis, for allegedly shoplifting. But Strikolis’ punishment was reduced to a 20-day suspension because of the department’s grievance process.

In addition, four officers who the department had previously discharged in the last two years were reinstated as the result of the grievance process and arbitration under collective bargaining agreements between the county police departments and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the statewide police union.

Those include Blake Oshita, who was previously discharged for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but was instead given a six-month suspension. Tyler Kerch’s discharge was reduced to a 20-day suspension for falsifying police reports. And the grievance process also benefitted Christian Rodrigues-Gum, who the department says stole illegal drugs.

Another officer, Diana Lugo, was also reinstated. The report shows that she allegedly shoved a household member but that an arbitrator found that Lugo was not terminated “for just and sufficient cause” and instead determined that Lugo’s actions were justified.

Neighbor Island Police Agencies

The Maui Police Department did not report any officers being terminated in 2022. The heftiest punishment went to Bishop Pahia, who was suspended for 20 days and demoted for six months for having unregistered firearms in his residence.

MPD suspended four other officers for not securing a service pistol, getting involved in an argument and not properly investigating complaints.

The Kauai Police Department’s summary of discipline was not available online as of Tuesday afternoon.

On the Big Island, one Hawaii County police officer, John Chiquita IV, was discharged for alleged abuse of a household member last year. His discharge was held in abeyance.

Three other Big Island police officers were disciplined in 2022, including two officers who were suspended for violating use of force policies. Those include Aaron Abalos, who was suspended for one day, and Devin Ah Chong, who was suspended for 21 days. Ah Chong was also disciplined for mistreating a prisoner, according to the department’s report.

County of Hawaii Police Department vehicle.
A bill proposed in the Legislature may shield the identity of officers facing disciplinary charges. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022)

The Hawaii County report provides almost no detail into the actions that resulted in officers being suspended. For example, Justin Gaspar was suspended for two days for off-duty conduct that “brought himself and the department into disrepute.”

The reports do however name officers who faced discipline, the result of a change in the law passed by the Legislature in 2020 following a national uproar over police oversight following the murder of George Floyd by several Minneapolis officers.

But lawmakers are considering whether officers names should be made public until the discipline and appeal process is finished.

Senate Bill 1159 would restrict the instances in which the departments are required to name officers who were suspended or discharged. The bill would only require disclosure after an officer has exhausted the grievance process. Right now, departments like HPD name every officer who faced discipline no matter the stage their case is in.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee on Friday.

Read HPD’s report below:

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