HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu’s prosecuting attorney, Steve Alm, discussed the recent officer-involved shootings and how his office is addressing the investigations on Thursday, April 29.
Alm says that he is assigning teams of experienced investigators to independently investigate the officer-involved shootings in Nuuanu and Kalakaua Avenue. He stressed that Honolulu police have been very cooperative and have forwarded all related evidence.
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After a “deliberate and thorough review,” his office will then make a decision whether any criminal charges will be warranted. Alm says that bodycam footage and other documents will not be prematurely released so as to not taint the case in court.
Alm also wants to keep more violent and repeat offenders in prison, and at the same time, get help for those committing crimes because of drugs.
First he wants the courts to be able to do more drug tests.
Drug tests are done in Circuit Court. It has not fully opened because of COVID-19, so testing has dropped dramatically due to the pandemic.
“They are doing some drug testing but it’s very limited. We need drug testing to help the defendants stay clean,” said Alm.
The Hawaii State Judiciary says drug testing is being done on high-risk defendants. Alm laid out his goals after his first 100 days in office and emphasized the need to keep violent and repeat criminals locked up.
“You should identify who can and should be in prison and do your very best to send them there. The other folks you identify, let’s get them on probation, let’s get them successful so they don’t commit another crime in the future,” said Alm.
He also wants to focus attention on areas such as Chinatown and Kalihi-Palama and plans to revitalize the Weed and Seed program, which has been successful in cleaning up high crime areas.
Alm says his number one goal is restoring trust in his office, which has taken a dramatic hit after former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha was convicted of several crimes and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He says the office is currently auditing the cases she was involved in.
“We are interviewing people looking at things, they have found files that were signed out to her in places that should not have been found in this office. They are being followed up on,” said Alm.
He adds that no defense attorney has asked to overturn any cases she prosecuted, but his office will review the case if that happens.