Other officers on scene said the off-duty detective was “code black,” police jargon for when someone is totally out of control.

Editor’s note: The Honolulu Police Department is finally releasing officer misconduct records that Civil Beat requested under Hawaii’s public records law. In some cases it has taken years for the disciplinary action to be finalized and months or even years longer for the department to process our public records requests. We think many of the stories contained in the files are still worth telling. The details provide more insight into the officer’s thinking and behavior as well as a look at how HPD handled the case. We also we think it’s important that public agencies know we will still publish the information even if it takes them years to release it. In this story, a Honolulu police detective was suspended and convicted of assault after a drunken bar scuffle. The details are compiled from the recently released Professional Standards Office investigative report, court records and other sources.

St. Patrick’s Day, 2019.

Lucius Crabbe was off duty and drinking at the Beach House when, just after 5 p.m., a man named Buddy Silva came up and put out his hand for a handshake.

While shaking Silva’s hand, Crabbe pulled his arm down and put him in a headlock. Crabbe, Silva later told investigators, was laughing “like it was all fun and jokes.” 

But Silva was in pain and didn’t think it was so funny.  He broke free and yelled at Crabbe. Then he went outside to smoke a cigarette and get a Band Aid from his car.

But the drama didn’t end there.

When Silva got back inside the bar, Crabbe approached him again, this time, according to Silva, lunging at him and throwing a punch. The two wrestled around until bystanders stepped in and pulled them apart. 

Lucius Crabbe
Lucius Crabbe, a detective with the Honolulu Police Department, was suspended for 99 days after he was accused of drunkenly wrestling with and lunging at a man in a bar while off duty. This 2018 photo is from Crabbe’s promotion ceremony. (Honolulu Police Department photo)

But Honolulu police officers who were called to the scene just before 5:30 p.m. reported an out-of-control Crabbe being held against the side of a pickup truck and struggling to get free, saying he “wanted to “punch that fucker.” 

One officer said Crabbe was “code black,” police jargon when someone is so out of control they don’t even know what they’re doing.

Another officer feared she might have to use her Taser on him.

Efforts to calm Crabbe down only made him more agitated. He was stumbling and slurring his words, his eyes red and watery.

In all, seven officers responded to the scene. 

Crabbe was arrested on a charge of third-degree assault and booked at the Kapolei Police Station.

Some time later — the PSO report doesn’t say when — Crabbe submitted a written response to the allegations. His side of the story paints a picture of someone who may have had a little too much to drink but was just trying to be friendly.

He said he’d been drinking beer and shots of whiskey at the Beach House since about 12:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. “Upon (Silva’s) arrival I had consumed enough to be in a drunken happy state,” he wrote.

Crabbe said he tried to give Silva a “manly hug” but Silva grabbed his neck and choked him then walked away.

  • Special Report

When Silva came back inside, Crabbe said, he went over to him but accidentally stumbled into Silva’s chair and then was holding on to him for balance.

That’s when someone else grabbed onto Crabbe and helped him walk out of the bar. 

Crabbe told investigators that he didn’t think he hurt Silva, but admitted he may have had too much to drink and took responsibility for his conduct.

According to court records, Crabbe pleaded no contest on Feb. 28, 2020. The charge was deferred while he completed three months of court supervision. His criminal charge was dismissed on June 19, 2020. 

He was suspended from the police department for 99 days, which was a reduced penalty after a union grievance process, according to a disciplinary summary filed with the Legislature. 

Attorneys who represented Crabbe at the time declined to comment for this story. 

Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu did not respond to requests for an interview about this case other than to confirm Crabbe’s present status as a detective with the department.

For the record, a search for information about Lucius Crabbe also turned up a very different kind of story about what happened on another off-duty day in 2004.

That was on Independence Day, and Crabbe and another officer, William Malina, were at Kipapa Neighborhood Park in Mililani. Malina’s daughter was playing in a softball game.

Elsewhere in the park, 24-year-old Kevin Silva was armed with two kitchen knives and lunging at people. Someone called out for Malina to help and he and Crabbe grabbed softball bats and disarmed the man.

Four years later, in 2008 — it’s unclear why it took four years, the newspaper article doesn’t say and HPD wouldn’t talk to Civil Beat for this story — Malina was awarded HPD’s Warrior Bronze Medal of Valor and Crabbe, then an officer, was awarded a certificate of merit for their actions four years earlier.

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