KPD BLUE CHAPTER 3- LETTING LYING DOGS SLEEP: In our next installment of reporter Anthony Sommer’s new book “KPD Blue” the cover-up begins with a complicitous local press refusing to provide the slimy details about the self-serving arbitration ruling reinstating the three fired officers and the County Council’s secret settlement with Alves,. beginning an new era of unbridled “racism, sexism and dishonesty” that characterizes Kaua`i politics to this day.
Watch this space for information on next week’s official release of KPD Blue and our next serialization installment, Chapter 4, which details the mayoral administration of “Queen” Marianne Kusaka.
Without further ado, “got windmills?” proudly presents Chapter 3- Aftershocks.
A Decade of Racism, Sexism, and Political Corruption in (and all around) the Kauai Police Department
by Anthony Sommer © 2008 Anthony Sommer All rights reserved.
Chapter 3 : Aftershocks
Revelations of continuing racism, sexism and dishonesty continue to haunt the KPD. They all circle back to the arrest of Monica Alves.
Immediately following the Lap Dancing Incident, newly appointed Police Chief George Freitas fired patrolmen Randy Machado, Todd Tanaka and Sgt. Mel Rapozo. The two other officers accused of molesting Alves resigned.
Machado, Tanaka and Rapozo filed union complaints. The case was submitted to binding arbitration and KPD was forced to reinstate all three.
One of the arbitrators who ordered the officers reinstated was Kauai lawyer Max Graham, an attorney for many of the biggest developers on Kauai.
Rather than take an ethical “zero tolerance” stand, Graham chose to bow down to SHOPO and the local politicians who wanted the officers reinstated.
Because of the nature of his wealthy mainland clients and their need for many Kauai County permits, it was in Graham’s best interests to please and placate the county government on Kauai.
So, Graham placed the blame not on the officers who were directly involved but on their superiors who never were named or disciplined.
“It further appears,” Graham wrote in his findings, “that more senior officers knew or should have known that better control was warranted.”
The logic seems to be that KPD officers and sergeants couldn’t possibly have been expected to know that stripping, fondling and photographing a woman they had just arrested was wrong unless a senior department official was standing right there to tell them so.
Rapozo turned down reinstatement, which would have required him to accept a demotion to patrolman, and instead became a private investigator. He later was elected to the Kauai County Council where he has become the KPD’s loudest and most passionate critic.
Despite Judge Masuoka’s feigned outrage, he sentenced Machado to only 30 days in jail for destroying evidence. Machado could have received a two-year term.
Shortly after he returned to duty, Machado was named “Officer of the Month” by the Kauai Police Commission. In 1999 he was awarded the “Top Cop Award” by the Hawaii Joint Police Association.
Clearly, there was no shame in the police community about the Alves incident.
Machado later died in a freak skate-boarding accident in front of his home. He received a full-blown police funeral and was accorded a hero’s obituary in the local newspaper. There was no mention of the lap dancer.
The news media in Hawaii develops a highly selective sense of recall when a controversial public figure dies. The evil they have done conveniently disappears when the obituaries are written.
Even though the trial of Randy Machado was recorded on video tape that is public record, it never has been presented to the people of Kauai before this book was printed.
There would be a striking similarity to the reportage of Macahdo’s death when Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste died in office a decade later.
Baptiste’s many controversial and ethically questionable deeds and decisions (he was re-elected to a second term by only two votes) vanished as far as the reporters writing his obituaries were concerned. In death, he was universally hailed as “The Aloha Mayor.”
Proper observance of local custom, perhaps, but astonishingly poor journalism, which is supposed to be about presenting the facts to the public.
Gone from public view but certainly not forgotten, The “Lap Dancing Incident” carried a curse, tainting everyone involved in it. Its evil spell continues today.
Alves sued the KPD and the county for sexual harassment and received a $250,000 settlement, a measure of how desperately Kauai County wanted (and still always wants) to avoid a potentially humiliating public civil trial.
Most of the money Alves was paid by Kauai County went up her nose and into her arms in the form of drug purchases.
The settlement contained a confidentiality agreement that was insisted on by Kauai County and that was totally illegal. Settlements paid by tax dollars are supposed to be public record.
But, there is much in Kauai County that is supposed to be public that Kauai County government keeps secret. And no one, certainly not the Hawaii news media, challenges Kauai County in court.
Shortly afterward, Alves and her husband Mitch Peralto were convicted of the brutal torture and murder of Alves’ niece, a KPD drug informant.
Four adults at the house where the victim was being held witnessed the couple beat, bind and gag Kimberly Washington Cohen, 23, and drive off with her in their car on July 11, 1997. The witnesses did nothing.
It was only later, when the owner returned home, that the police were called.
Apparently, Alves knew Washington Cohen was a confidential informant (although KPD records showed she never provided them any useful information) and believed she had tipped off the police. KPD vice officers had stopped Alves and searched her for drugs.
While beating Washington Cohen, Alves tried to seal her lips shut with fingernail glue, telling her, according to a witness, “You’re never going to be able to talk again.”
The four witnesses watched Alves and Peralto bind Washington Cohen’s arms, ankles and beasts, gag her mouth so tightly “her face was deformed,” duct-tape a blanket over her head and torso and drag her struggling into the back seat of their car and drive away.
The next day, police found the woman’s body in a shallow grave less than a mile from the house where she had been beaten. The cause of death was suffocation.
Alves, sobbing when she heard the guilty verdict, and Peralto were convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
If Monica Alves, from her prison cell, is aware of all the twisted turns KPD has taken ever since her arrest for lap dancing, she must be laughing at all of them.