The Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus today announced that they received a call from the Honolulu Police Department's (HPD) Chief of Police's office canceling Thursday's meeting with the Women's State Legislative Caucus and three women members of the Honolulu City Council.
A representative of the Women's Caucus spoke with the office of Chief of Police Louis M. Kealoha to ask that the commitment to meet with the women on Thursday be honored.
"The purpose of Thursday's meeting was for the Women's Legislative Caucus and the three women city councilmembers to have the opportunity to speak with Chief Kealoha directly," said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, a member of the Women's Caucus. "We hoped to work cooperatively with the police to strengthen efforts to end domestic violence and keep victims safe. We wanted to discuss concerns and questions about HPD's internal policies and procedures regarding domestic violence cases, especially when one of their own officers is a suspect that has been brought to us by victims' service providers."
"The Women's Legislative Caucus and women Honolulu City Councilmembers asked for the opportunity to discuss these issues with Chief Kealoha prior to the public informational briefing so that he could be prepared to respond fully in public, and to, hopefully, open the door to improved partnerships and outcomes in domestic violence cases," said Senate President Kim.
A representative of the Women's Caucus was told the meeting was cancelled because the internal investigation was not yet completed. "We made it clear that the Women's Caucus understands that personnel investigations are confidential and that we have no intention of interfering in that matter," stated Senator Laura Thielen, a member of the Women's Caucus. "We told Chief Kealoha's office that our concern and our meeting is to be focused on the broader HPD policies and response to domestic violence incidents."
The cancellation was completely unexpected. "Many of us rearranged our schedules to suit the Police Chief's requested meeting date and time. We are disappointed at his unexpected cancellation," stated Senate President Kim. "We sincerely hope this is not a sign of the lack of importance the department places on the issue of domestic violence. But it's perplexing to us why he would cancel such an important meeting with so many women leaders."
View the news release
Following the public release of a surveillance video showing a Honolulu Police Department
(HPD) sergeant allegedly brutally beating his girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant, the Hawaii Women's State Legislative Caucus and the three women members of the Honolulu City Council are calling on HPD to explain its policies and procedures for handling criminal actions involving its own officers and how the failure to act that occurred earlier this week is not repeated.
According to reports, HPD officers responding to the scene did not arrest the sergeant, nor did they file any reports of the incident that night. It was only on the following day, after a citizen provided HPD and the press with the surveillance video, that HPD took action to remove the sergeant of his police powers and begin an internal investigation into the incident, according to a Hawaii News Now report.
The Joint Women's Legislative Caucus and City Council members released the following statement:
"We are calling for a meeting with the Chief of Police, followed by an informational briefing with the Honolulu Police Department and Police Commission. The public has a right to know the department's policies and procedures for response to domestic violence or any other crimes when the offender is a police officer, particularly one who serves in a supervisory role.
"HPD officials must explain to the public why the alleged assailant was not charged and arrested given evidence of probable cause, including multiple witnesses who had to come to the woman's aide and a video surveillance depicting the appalling domestic violence assault.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that HPD officers chose not to enforce our domestic violence laws. The fact that the woman denied the incident is to be expected under the circumstances. Indeed, the responding officers' failure to take action clearly communicated that her safety will not be protected by them. If similar situations have occurred in the past, any victim of violence would deny it out of fear of retaliation.
"This incident sends a dark message to victims of domestic violence and all residents of Oahu, that members of HPD, who are supposed to serve and protect, may turn a blind eye to domestic violence or other criminal acts committed by of one of their officers.
"The integrity of HPD has been mired and trust has been lost. We demand public accountability."
View the news release
Join us for the 6th Annual Art at the Capitol on First Friday in April
Friday, April 4, 2014 | Hawaii State Capitol | 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
The Legislature is opening its office doors for an evening of art, culture and history during downtown Honolulu's First Friday in April. View over 500 works of public art, purchased through the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, showcased in state lawmakers' offices. Talk story with your state lawmakers, mingle with original artists and enjoy entertainment from Hawaii Youth Symphony. Featured artist: Otto Piene, kinetic sculptor who created the "Sun" and "Moon" chandeliers in the House and Senate chambers. A pre-recorded interview with Piene will be shown in Room 423.
4:30 p.m. - Program will start on the 3rd Floor
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Self guided tour of the participating offices
For more information call (808) 586-6460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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