Sunday, August 24, 2008

KPD Blue, Chapters 1 & 2

(The following is the premiere of Chapters 1&2 of a new book, due out soon, by former Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Anthony Sommer, as detailed yesterday. Look for future excerpts from Parx News Net’s “got windmills?”)




KPD Blue
A Decade of Racism, Sexism, and Political Corruption in (and all around) the Kauai Police Department

by Anthony Sommer
Copyright © 2008 Anthony Sommer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1-4392-0346-6
ISBN-13: 9781439203460
Visit www.booksurge.com to order additional copies.

KPD BLUE

Chapter 1: The Lap Dancer

“She was on her hands and knees and she was crawling towards me like a cat, licking her lips.

“Then she got up to me. I was seated on a chair and I had my legs spread and she came up between my legs, and she cupped her breasts and she squeezed them together and had my crotch – right around my crotch area.

“Then she pulled her panties to the side, exposed her vagina, and then she started to gyrate on my lap, rubbing her vagina on my crotch area.”

That’s Officer Alfredo Villanueva of the Honolulu Police Department describing Monica Alves during the trial of Carl Irvin Richie, charged with promoting prostitution and racketeering through his business, Fanta-See Express.

More than a decade later on Kauai, what happened that night, which became known as the “Lap Dancing Incident,” casts its long shadow over the Kauai Police Department: The 10-year political war for the control of the KPD can be traced back to that single incident.

On one side: Two reform police chiefs trying to make the KPD more professional and modern and diverse.

Opposing them: A cabal of entrenched middle managers clinging to the KPD’s longtime reputation as a gang of thugs in blue with no respect for the rule of law.

On that night of September 16, 1995, Villanueva and his partner, Officer Jensen Okagawa, were on loan to the KPD from the Honolulu Police Department. Kauai is so small it is very hard for local police to operate undercover without being identified.

The pair of HPD vice officers posed as construction contractors who had just finished a job on Kauai and were having a party at a rented condominium.

Outside was the KPD intelligence squad waiting for a signal from Villanueva to raid the condo and arrest Richie and the women. The two undercover officers wore wires and their conversations with Richie and the women were recorded.

Shortly after 8 p.m., Richie arrived at the condo and handed Villanueva a written contract for three women to perform for one hour in return for $750.

The undercover officers paid Richie $750. He departed and soon returned with stereo equipment and three women: Alves, Riaana Hernandez and Fania Hicks. A fourth woman, Tina Silva, assisted Ritchie.

The two undercover officers testified all three of the women danced, originally topless and later naked, around the room and took turns sitting in the laps of and taking tips from the “customers.” Richie collected all the tips from the women.

At one point, Monica Alves, whose role would become much more important later that night, sat naked on Villanueva’s lap.

Then Alves did the same for Okagawa, who testified in Richie’s trial:

“In this—in this, um, point in her routine, uh, she was completely naked and she sat on my lap with her back facing toward me and, uh, she started grinding her vagina on to the crotch of my pants, simulating sexual intercourse and then, uh, she leaned back on my chest and then grabbed both my hands and placed them on her breasts.

“I removed my hands and then she grabbed them again.”

During a break between dance sessions, Villanueva approached Richie.

“I told him that my partner was interested in one of the girls, and I told him – described her, and I said that I think she was introduced as Monique (the name Monica Alves was using that night).

“I told him that – well, he asked what they wanted to do and I asked him if they could disappear for a little while, that he wanted to have sex with her in the bedroom. I turned and looked at my partner and smiled at him.
“Then, he (Richie) turned his back on me and he told me that it’s going to cost me an extra $225.

“Officer Okagawa also told him, yeah, that he was interested in Monique and he wanted to have sex with her.

That’s when he (Richie) told us it would have to be after the performance and it had to be a private showing.”

At the end of the performance, the officers gave the signal and KPD officers entered the condominium and arrested Richie and the four women.

Records seized by KPD showed Richie had conducted 80 similar performances on Kauai.

On Feb. 19, 1996, a jury found Richie guilty of promoting prostitution and racketeering. He was sentenced to five years on the prostitution charge and a concurrent 10 years for racketeering.

On June 25, 1998, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Richie could not be convicted of two crimes involving the same act. The racketeering conviction was overturned and his sentence reduced to five years for promoting prostitution.

Chapter 2: KPD’s Finest

Richie and the four women were taken to the main police station in Lihue, a ramshackle and rambling one-story structure wedged between the ancient state courthouse and Wilcox Elementary School.

Both the police station and the courthouse have since been replaced by modern structures but the people working inside – and, more importantly, the cultures -- haven’t changed.

The four women were strip-searched by a woman KPD officer, Darla Abbatiello. Alves later testified that officer Randy Machado said he wanted to conduct the strip search but Abbatiello refused to allow him to do so.

Randy Machado was tried in November 1996, on charges of destroying evidence and sexually molesting Alves. He was the only one of the officers charged with a crime to stand trial.

After she was searched, Alves testified, four of the KPD officers involved in the sting operation took Alves to the watch sergeant’s office.

Also present—and the only one wearing a police uniform although the plain clothes undercover officers were carrying guns and badges, was the watch sergeant—Sgt. Mel Rapozo.


Monica Alves

Before the search, Machado went up to Abbatiello, a fashion model before she became a cop, and asked the of­ficer “regarding her breasts and my breasts and whether my breasts were real and whether her breasts were real,” Alves testified at Machado’s trial.

Alves testified Rapozo did not participate in what happened next, but he was in the office the entire time, smiling and laughing and making comments and doing nothing to stop the other officers.

Alves said Randy Machado closed the office door, which led outside to a parking lot.
The officers first put a KPD uniform hat on Alves’ head, she testified. At this point, she was still handcuffed.

“Randy Machado said he wanted to see my breasts. He unbuttoned it (her dress),” Alves said.

“I was scared to object to anything from that point on. I asked: ‘Are you guys trying to set me up?’” Alves testified.

She said one of the officers took a Polaroid camera and some film out of a locker in the office and began taking pictures.

Alves testified at this time she was still wearing a bra and g-string panties.

“Randy Machado grabbed my breasts and my private area. I told him to stop.

“He said he thought my breasts were beautiful and they were real and told the others to come and check them out,” she told the court.

At that point, she testified, Machado picked Alves up. He sat in a chair and placed Alves on his lap and spread her legs with his legs, fondling her breasts and vaginal area while pictures were taken.

“I went along without screaming or crying out because I was scared,” Alves testified.

“They can do anything they want, anywhere they want because they’re cops,” she testified. “In other words, they could kill me there if they wanted to and they actually thought they could get away with it and that they’d done this before.

“They could maybe say I tried to hurt them and have me hurt. He (Machado) made it very clear to me that – you know what? – He could have people hurt and it’s just as simple as that in his position. That he could have people hurt,” Alves told the court.

Alves said Machado then picked her up again and bent her over the arm of an office chair, pulled her panties to the side and explored her vaginal area.

“He said he thought it was beautiful and invited the others to take a look,” she said.
Then Machado looked closely at her vagina. “He said I still had miles to go.”

Alves testified Machado picked her up again, placed her on the watch sergeant’s desk and removed her handcuffs.

Rapozo, the watch sergeant, watched and did nothing to stop Machado.

“He asked me to do my crawl. He said he had seen it in my show,” Alves said.

She said she couldn’t crawl on the desk but “posed in a crawling position” while the officers took more pictures.

The KPD officers then allowed Alves to dress. When she was clothed, she testified, Machado grabbed her again from behind.

“He started grinding his penis on my buttocks. I felt it,” Alves said. Both she and Machado were wearing clothes at that time.

“He said he didn’t know how he was going to explain to his wife how he came all over himself,” Alves testified.

The KPD released Alves “pending investigation” shortly before dawn.

KPD Sgt. Clinton Bettencourt, who testified Alves sometimes served as an informant for him, gave Alves a ride home to her husband and two children.

The sergeant testified that she told him very briefly about what happened and gave a description of Randy Machado but he didn’t ask Alves any questions.

“She was crying. I didn’t want to push it,” Bettencourt explained to the court.

The sergeant testified he did not ask any questions of other police officers when he returned to the police station and did not report what Alves told him.

Willie Ihu told a similar tale from the witness stand. He saw no evil, but he didn’t look very hard.

Ihu was a sergeant in 1995 and was the second in command of the sting operation that nabbed Monica Alves.

In the trial of Randall Machado, Ihu testified that Machado came to Ihu’s office about 1:30 a.m. and told him, “Willie, you better go look in the back. Some of the girls are running around. Some of them may be naked. Some of the guys are taking their pictures.” He also told Ihu the officers were fondling the women.

Machado did not tell Ihu he was the main culprit. What he was attempting to do, of course, was lay down a smoke screen to cover up what he had done.

Ihu said he went back where the women were being held in a lunch room, saw that all of them were dressed and then went back to his office.

Ihu admitted he didn’t ask any of the women or any of the officers any questions.
Ihu didn’t get involved and wasn’t disciplined.

Machado’s defense attorney, Bill Feldhacker, presented a very different story.

Feldhacker introduced a statement from one of the dancers, Fania Hicks, who said she saw Alves go into the watch sergeant’s office with the officers and she saw Alves removing her own clothes and crawl on the table.

Hicks said it was Alves who closed the door to the office, not any of the officers.
Kelly Lau, a cousin of Alves’s, testified Alves had been with her the afternoon before the sting operation. She said Alves at that time was drunk and under the influence of crystal meth.

At 4 a.m., after Alves had been released, Lau said she received a telephone call from Alves, who said she was home alone and she wanted Lau to come over to her house and party. Lau said she brought four people with her, but none of them testified to substantiate her story.

Lau said that, at Alves’ house, Alves was topless and wearing a G-string and taking drugs. Lau testified Alves told her that she had voluntarily not only put on a police hat but also a police shirt, gun belt and baton and posed for pictures.

“She was bragging about it,” Alau said. “She thought it was a joke.”

In his closing argument, Feldhacker conceded his client Machado had told police internal investigators: “I know it was wrong. I know it was unethical.”

But he said Machado repeatedly denied Alves had been forced to do anything.
And Feldhacker argued Alves wasn’t acting out of fear.

“She wasn’t afraid of police officers,” Feldhacker told the court. “She’s learned long ago how to manipulate them in a sexual way.”

Fifth Circuit Court Judge George Masuoka found Randy Machado guilty of destroying evidence: The photos, which he had run through a shredder in the KPD Records Section.

But the judge tossed out the charges against all the officers that they had molested Alves.

Masuoka called the officers’ actions “wrong, immoral, unethical and, last, but not least, stupid,” but he ruled prosecutors were unable to prove that the officers took sexual liberties with Alves against her will.

Masuoka said Alves’ testimony was inconsistent with statements she had previously made. Lau’s testimony was suspect, Masuoka said. But the question of reasonable doubt remained and that was enough for acquittal on the sexual assault charge.

“Under the circumstances, the state has not met the burden of proving Ms. Alves did not consent. The state has not proven coercion,” the judge said.

The three charges of sexual abuse against Machado fell into a loophole in Hawaii law.

If a state corrections officer had sexually touched an inmate, with our without consent, the crime would be a felony.

But the law did not extend to county police officers and arrested suspects who consent to or who are forced to have sex with the cops who operate the temporary holding cells at the police stations.

The statute since has been amended to include prisoners being held by police officers. But it was not on the books at the time of Alves’s arrest, the judge noted.

“It should not be permitted and it should be a felony, whether with or without consent,” Masuoka said. “This conduct should not be accepted or tolerated in our community.”

And in a not-at-all subtle hint to Police Chief George Freitas to take stern disciplinary action, Masuoka added: “I believe the chief should get the message.”

Chief Freitas did and fired the officers.

But the SHOPO, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the police union, stood in his way.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1:
The Lap Dancer
Chapter 2
KPD’s Finest
Chapter 3:
Aftershocks
Chapter 4
Kauai Style
Chapter 5:
Maryanne Kusaka
Chapter 6
Lisa Fisher
Chapter 7
Elaine Schaefer
Chapter 8:
The Serial Killer
Chapter 9:
Officer Nelson Gabriel
Chapter 10
George Freitas
Chapter 11
A New Mayor
Chapter 12:
Bryan Baptiste
Chapter 13:
Kaipo Asing
Chapter 14
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part I: Jackie Tokashiki versus KPD
Chapter 15
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part II: Mark Begley versus KPD
Chapter 16:
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part III: Alvin Seto versus KPD
Chapter 17
Former Police Chief George Freitas
Chapter 18:
The Short Reign of Acting Chief Willie Ihu
Chapter 19:
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part IV: Darla Abbatiello versus KPD
Chapter 20:
Hop Sing
Chapter 21
The Ethics Board and Michael Ching
Chapter 22:
Tail Gunner Mel
Chapter 23
KPD Time Bomb
Chapter 24
The Return of K.C. Lum
Chapter 25:
After the Purge is Over
Chapter 26
What Boddah You?
Regarding Sources
About the Author


Table of Contents

Chapter 1:
The Lap Dancer
Chapter 2
KPD’s Finest
Chapter 3:
Aftershocks
Chapter 4
Kauai Style
Chapter 5:
Maryanne Kusaka
Chapter 6
Lisa Fisher
Chapter 7
Elaine Schaefer
Chapter 8:
The Serial Killer
Chapter 9:
Officer Nelson Gabriel
Chapter 10
George Freitas
Chapter 11
A New Mayor
Chapter 12:
Bryan Baptiste
Chapter 13:
Kaipo Asing
Chapter 14
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part I: Jackie Tokashiki versus KPD
Chapter 15
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part II: Mark Begley versus KPD
Chapter 16:
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part III: Alvin Seto versus KPD
Chapter 17
Former Police Chief George Freitas
Chapter 18:
The Short Reign of Acting Chief Willie Ihu
Chapter 19:
A Stampede to the Courthouse
Part IV: Darla Abbatiello versus KPD
Chapter 20:
Hop Sing
Chapter 21
The Ethics Board and Michael Ching
Chapter 22:
Tail Gunner Mel
Chapter 23
KPD Time Bomb
Chapter 24
The Return of K.C. Lum
Chapter 25:
After the Purge is Over
Chapter 26
What Boddah You?
Regarding Sources
About the Author

10 comments:

Joan said...

The 10-year political war for the control of the KPD can be traced back to that single incident.

OK, Tony lost me right here. I guess he forgot about the racial discrimination charges against Fujita that preceded all that.

But his lurid recounting of all the sensational sex stuff ought to draw in a few readers.

Anonymous said...

On one side: Two reform police chiefs trying to make the KPD more professional and modern and diverse.

Opposing them: A cabal of entrenched middle managers clinging to the KPD’s longtime reputation as a gang of thugs in blue with no respect for the rule of law.


I can see why Andy likes him. He divides the issues up into the good guys and the bad guys - black and white with no gray in sight.

Anonymous said...

Chief Freitas did and fired the officers.

But the SHOPO, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the police union, stood in his way.


Don't tell Katy!

Andy Parx said...

The Alves episode is central to what happened for the following 10 years. Half the major KPD players were there night.... Mel Rapozo, Darla Abbatiello, Mark Begly- even KC Lum. And the other half were involved by the next day.

The cover-ups and hilarious bungling of it are BECAUSE it was a supposedly a “sex” case. The problem is it was a rape case and part of a pattern on the part of KPD male officers. That’s what the lawsuits are all about.

I’m pretty sure the story of the party in “da boys’” pants that night, once told, is central to all the rest that’s gone on since but is the only. “explicit” part of the book.

That’s why it’s there in the first two chapters.

I used the word “witch hunt”, not Tony. But a dozen or so of us watched and read as Tony watched and wrote about what happened. That includes the other reporters- from Dennis Wilken to Jan tenBruggencate- and all the “nitpickers”. who went to all the meetings and read all the documents. Tony has those and other documents, some no one saw at the time.

Tony is one of my most unforgettable characters. All he lacks is the fedora to be a modern version of the stereotypical newspaper reporter. He’s an ex-military cop who is an avowed conservative and but with a progressive-libertarian streak that is infuriated by illegal government secrecy.

To have landed on Kaua`i was just the place for him. All the secrecy and paternalism in government was actually worse 10 years ago He would write up these little pieces about how absurdly funny the lack of compliance with the sunshine and open records laws was.

And sometimes they’d comply.

He was the first ever to sue under the Sunshine Law on Kaua`i. He was outraged when the Council met with Mayor Kusaka and cut a deal behind closed doors on the contentious KIUC purchase. It outraged him more that no one else in the press was filing suits to enforce open meetings and records laws over here.

I am glad that the story of the “trial” is coming out. Someone got a tape of the trial and was going to play the on TV but didn’t because Randy’s family asked him not to.

So no one knows the story. They should. Now they will. It’s been public record for years.

I watched this all happen. There’s always shades of gray. But there’s also always a lot more black and white... sometime they even wear those color hats to make it easy.

I’m not even sure what’s in the rest of the book yet- that’s all I’ve seen. I’m pretty close to being able to serialize it- maybe a chapter a week. I’m gonna buy a copy as soon as it’s available.

Anonymous said...

tita-lating. gonzo journalizm gone wild. good thing they never had you tube back then.

Joan said...

So no one knows the story.

Everything that's been recounted thus far has been out there for years.

Katy Rose said...

"'Chief Freitas did and fired the officers.

But the SHOPO, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, the police union, stood in his way.'

Don't tell Katy!"

Why not? The advantage of having a union represent you is that in disciplinary situations you have represetation- very much the way if you get arrested you are entitled to legal representation.

Your implication that this proves that unionism is somehow inherently flawed is akin to saying that the system of legal representation is inherently flawed because someone who is accused of committing a heinous crime gets to have a lawyer.

As we all know, sometimes laywers "stand in the way" of convictions in cases where most people wish to see the accused put behind bars, but this is not a argument for removing defense lawyers from our legal system. We generally accept that the integrity of our constitution is expressed better by guilty people walking free than by innocent people sitting behind bars.

Unions represent members who are disciplined, and fight for them the way defense lawyers fight for accused people. That's the way it is...and sometimes people who deserve to be fired keep their jobs - but at the same time, it limits the ability of employers to terminate people unfairly.

It's a trade-off.

Andy Parx said...

We’d like to correct something written above in these comments.

Mark Begly was NOT present the night of the Monica Alves incident in 1995. A misreading of notes caused the error. Begley says that he was not on the force at the time but working for the State Sheriff’s Department and did not return to KPD until September of 1996.

We regret the error and apologize to Deputy Chief Begley.

Rob said...

I really wish to contact Anthony Sommer. Please I want to hear Monica's side of the story without hearsay and accusations. She is in the Womens Community Correction facility in Kailua, HI, now. She needs to tell the real story.

Thank you for the book Tony.

Andy Parx said...

Send me your contact info "Rob" at gotwindmills(at)gmail.com and I'll see what I can do