A man who is at the center of an investigation for an incident involving four Honolulu police officers won’t speak to investigators because he is afraid of retaliation. The incident in question occurred on February 3 in the Keeaumoku area.
The four police officers who were allegedly involved in the incident were placed on restricted duty. The FBI will conduct an investigation to determine if the officers forced the man to put his mouth on a public urinal.
Susan Ballard, the Chief of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), was first informed of the incident by another police officer who came forward. After an internal investigation, Ballard contacted the FBI.
The president of the State of Hawaii Police Officers Union, Tenari Maafala, has called the allegations “serious,” and said she “can only hope and pray for the sake of the officers that these are allegations, and appropriate actions will be taken. It’s no doubt any action of an officer as serious as this, casts a bad light on the department.”
Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said, “HPD officers are trained to protect the constitutional rights of individuals regardless of circumstances, and we expect our officers to be professional and respectful to all members of the public at all times. The majority of our officers are compassionate and professional, even in difficult and sometimes volatile situations.”
Kimo Carvalho, spokesman for the Institute of Human Services said, “Our hearts were saddened to hear about the allegations made regarding four HPD officers forcing a homeless person to lick a urinal. The news came as a shocking surprise as our staff work with many wonderful officers across Oahu who share common values and a strong will to support our mission in ending homelessness in Hawaii.”
Sources close to the situation say that the man involved in the incident fears that police will retaliate against him if he speaks up.
Speaking on the circumstances, attorney Kevin O’Grady says, “The only way people can vindicate their rights is to complain. If somebody thinks they were wronged by a police officer, the only way they can stop the police officer from doing those things are civil rights actions and police commission actions.”
According to O’Grady, a person who thinks they have been mistreated by police can file a complaint with the police commission, or file a civil lawsuit where the they might be entitled to financial compensation.
Have your rights been violated by police? Contact our Honolulu criminal defense attorney to schedule a free consultation today.