The Maui police officer arrested for allegedly tampering with a witness has been charged with attempted perjury, attempted hindering prosecution, and witness tampering.
Officer Brandon Saffeels has been released from custody after posting $50,000 bail. He has been placed on leave without pay and his police powers have been restricted.
He was arrested Monday night on a warrant as he stepped off his flight to Maui.
Honolulu attorney Michael Green says there are at least three women accusing the officer of misusing his police powers. He says Saffeels offered to help the women in exchange for favors. Green adds that there are likely more women who were put in that situation.
Green has records of the text messages allegedly sent by officer Brandon Saffeels to the three women. Last year, he offered to give a woman confidential police records, and made it clear he wanted something in exchange.
“Hahaha. I will get that for u as soon as I am done here. And I get anything I want?” Saffeels allegedly texted.
In July, after arresting a woman for DUI, he sent a text offering to alter his testimony so she gets off.
And later added, “Come my house if u like. I’m on duty but I can go home.”
“How scared are they?” KHON2 asked.
“Terrified, terrified, the lady in the DUI was in tears the entire interview. I had her down in Maui with a federal agent and local police and prosecutors,” said Green.
He adds that the FBI is also investigating the case. He says a third woman has also shown him texts from Saffeels which includes photos and bragging about himself.
“Basically how men are from Texas, basically suggesting or inferring that they’re more manly or more masculine than other men,” said Green.
“Cause he’s from Texas?” KHON2 asked.
“Yeah and there’s photos of him without a shirt on,” said Green.
Saffeels has been with MPD for four years, and Green says most of the cases the officer has testified in will be tainted. He says the woman’s DUI case has already been dismissed.
He also questions if any discipline was handed out last year when the first woman complained to the department. We asked MPD and were told they cannot comment since it’s a personnel matter. Maui’s police chief expressed his disappointment on the whole incident.
“I have said it before and i will say it again. I will not tolerate any misconduct by any of my officers,” said Chief Tivoli Faaumu.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has released a statement:
“I join Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu in condemning misconduct. Breaches of community trust will not be tolerated. I have every confidence that these allegations of police misconduct will be thoroughly investigated, both criminally and administratively. I echo Chief Faaumu’s sentiment that our community needs to heal from these wounds, and that the trust we have in law enforcement will once again be earned.
“Recent allegations of misconduct by a Maui police officer have shaken public confidence in the Maui Police Department. We need to have faith that police officers will serve and protect us – not abuse their authority. While disappointed in these revelations, I’m encouraged that the officer has been arrested, and charges have been filed. To maintain the integrity of our legal system, due process must be allowed to take its course.
“During a difficult time, such as this, I would like to thank the men and women of the Maui Police Department who do their jobs, daily, with honor and integrity. At any moment, they may be called upon to put their lives on the line to protect and serve our community. Their good work honors their uniform and shield.”
Attorney Michael Green plans to file a civil lawsuit against Officer Saffeels and Maui County.