Tuesday, May 6, 2008


DOGGIN’ IT: The sentencing of the three vice-squad cops who ditched marijuana eradication schools in Maui a couple of years back is in the news and it was not only a slap on the wrists but a slap in the face of accountability for the Kauai` Police Department, (KPD) the laughing stock of the state and the only unaccredited department in Hawai`i.

Not only did the three receive five years probation for the felony conviction, their attorney’s “(Michael) Green and (George) Burke said the two lawyers “would pay all the restitution and court fees for their clients....(s)ince they have had difficulty finding work”, according to the Honolulu Star- Bulletin article today.

In the understatement of the year Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe said to the three "(y)our actions contributed to the broken trust the community has in the Kauai Police Department."

Well don’t worry. The Kaua`i branch of the State’s DOCARE - the secret, private, unaccountable Department of Land and Natural Resources police force- is famous for taking disgraced Kaua`i cops so they can do their unaccountable law “conservation and resource enforcement” activities unencumbered by any civilian review.

Although Green reportedly said “the damage alone from losing their careers and their reputations was punishment enough for their crimes” the case may be emblematic of the very attitude that has been prevalent among a few “good old boys” in the KPD for decades – that the officers can do anything they want as long as they don’t get caught.

And if recent stories are true, despite the reigning in of that kind of cop during the administration of the last two chiefs, it may be back today.

According to a mostly un-sourced and unattributed account by Island Breath’s Juan Wilson and another by Koohan “Camera” Paik, Dayne Aipoalani of the Kingdom of Atooi and his family were harassed and Aipoalani was arrested on an outstanding warrant and then mistreated after being tailed by police following their presence at a Westside community meeting on the evening of April 30.

Some of the events were previously reported by Joan Conrow at Kaua`i Eclectic.

Some accounts said that there were many cop cars and officers- more than would usually be on duty or available- and although the Island Breath accounts were apparently conflicting it is apparent something out of the ordinary might have happened and there’s no doubt that some degree of harassment was involved- whether or not the arrest was actually a valid one.

Wilson and Paik say that Aipoalani was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear on charges stemming from an incident at the Superferry’s attempted landing last August when Aipoalani allegedly presented a fake police badge to police.

The Island Breath column say that Aipoalani had a doctor’s note for his failure to appear and that the court was aware of it although we have been unable to confirm the circumstances.

PNN has requested comment from County Administration Public Information Officer regarding the incident but because they are “in the final stages of preparing (the) supplementary budget (they) have not been able to get a comment”... but apparently we will have one soon so we can all get some facts.

This all come on the heals of a slew of letters and emails circulating recently condemning what many in the community see as the recent direction new Chief Darryl Perry has been taking- away from the “community policing” established by the past two chiefs and toward purchases of riot gear and tasers.

We know many officers personally and most are, despite the nature of the job, great people who do their job with as much compassion and care as is humanly possible, especially given what is essentially an impossible job.

But when cops like Channing Tada, Wesley Perreira and Lawrence Stem think that it’s ok to do what “everybody does” and fill out false reports and going holoholo instead of dong their job, what must we assume about the honesty of the way they do their job day to day?

According to the newspaper article “Christopher Young, deputy attorney general, said the state had to bring the case because their decision to lie and cover up their mistakes damaged the reputation of the Kauai Police Department and the trust of the community.
‘This is not about the $800’ each for salary, flights and the hotel room, Young added. ‘This case is about integrity and honesty.’”

PNN can now report that according an extremely reliable source, around the time just before these three were put on paid leave from the vice squad because of the charges, at least one Kaua`i attorney was telling people that he/she was seeing more than the usual number of defendants coming in for drug charges saying that the drugs were planted by the vice squad.

But the strange part was that in addition many were all saying that yes, they had a small amount of drugs but that when they got to the station house there were massive quantities or that vice squad members apparently threw bags into their cars and “discovered” drugs that weren’t theirs.

This was at a time when the Mayor was up in arms over the methamhetamine epidemic and appointed a Kaua`i “drug czar”, vowing to crack down and put pressure on the vice squad to not just bust users to “go after the dealers”.

This comes on the heals of reported and confirmed drug-dealer protection by KPD officers-if not internal drug dealing- in the Curnan and other cases of the late 90’s and early ’00’s.

Meanwhile we wish Rich Hoeppner, who reportedly suffered a heart attack after trying to help Appliooni through the ordeal, a speedy recovery from the triple bypass he will be undergoing the day after tomorrow (Thursday).

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