By Anthony Sommer
Chapter 18 : The Short Reign of Acting Chief Wilie Ihu
Willie Ihu, who had served as acting chief while Freitas was suspended, also was named acting chief when Freitas retired.
Like every other key KPD figure in this tale, Ihu also is tied to the Lap Dancing Incident.
According to his own testimony in the trail of Randy Machado, Ihu was told by Machado what was going on. He never investigated, never filed a complaint against the officers and never was disciplined for failing to do so.
Ihu served only seven months as acting chief. He then retired on May 1, 2004, and was replaced by Acting Chief K.C. Lum.
Ihu was around just long enough to demonstrate how acceptable racism is within KPD.
In 2004, a dog belonging to a local farmer attacked and killed a 17-month-old white boy on Kauai’s north shore. According to several sources who said they heard the police radio conversation, the dispatcher told a KPD supervisor to proceed to the scene immediately. The supervisor reportedly replied, “No hurry, it’s just a haole kid.”
Truston Heart Liddle was the 17-month-old blondhaired toddler killed by a chained dog owned by a local farmer. There was no fence around the dog.
The dog was destroyed but no charges—such as negligent homicide or reckless endangerment, for example—were ever filed against its owner. Its owner was local. Truston was white.
Truston was the grandson of Greg Liddle of Kapaa, one of Hawaii’s most famous surfboard “shapers” or designers. On Feb. 24, 2004, Truston was with his parents—Damon “Dove” Liddle and his wife Raven—on a small farm where they grew organic vegetables. While his parents were working, the child wandered onto an adjoining farm where several dogs were chained or caged.
Truston walked up to a 40-pound un-neutered male dog, which attacked him.
According to Dr. Becky Rhodes, director of the Kauai Humane Society, chaining a dog guarantees the animal will turn mean. “The dog will attack anyone or anything that comes within the radius of its chain,” she said.
Truston’s six-year-old brother saw the attack and ran to his parents. They found the dog still biting Truston as he lay on the ground.
The couple put the injured child in their car and headed for a medical clinic in Kilauea, calling for help on their cell phone. The police dispatcher told them to stop along the road and wait for firefighters, an ambulance, and police who already were on their way.
Truston was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital where he died in the emergency room of multiple head, neck, and chest wounds.
Acting Police Chief Ihu decided because Truston had wandered onto the neighbor’s unfenced property because his parents were not supervising him, there was no crime on the part of the local farmer who owned the dog.
The officer who made the “just a haole kid” remark over the police radio never has been identified officially. According to the KPD, the tape of the radio conversation was “accidentally erased.”
But according to numerous sources, when he heard about the “just a haole kid” transmission, Acting Chief Ihu literally ran to the dispatcher’s office and immediately confiscated, bagged and tagged the tape as “evidence” to keep it from becoming public, even though he decided there were no criminal charges to pursue.