A grand jury is looking into possible corruption and misconduct by the Honolulu Police Department, a federal public defender told KHON2.
We spoke with Alexander Silvert, who said it comes after a mailbox theft case involving the police chief.
Silvert defended Gerard Puana, who was accused of stealing HPD Chief Louis Kealoha’s mailbox.
“We uncovered falsified documents, false statements, basically what we believe to be an attempt by HPD to frame my client for the theft of the mailbox,” Silvert said.
He also told KHON2 the grand jury is looking into the allegations involving the chief, his wife, and other members of HPD.
“The police commission should be active and take initiative to find out whether they should take some action against the chief or not,” said Sen. Will Espero, D, vice chair of the Senate public safety committee.
The Honolulu Police Commission has the power to remove Kealoha, so we wanted to know if the commission is conducting its own investigation.
Ron Taketa, chair of the Honolulu Police Commission, said the commission has not yet received any type of confirmation about the grand jury proceedings.
We found out the commission has contacted the FBI numerous times, but has not been able to find out anything.
“What kind of questions have you been asking?” KHON2 asked.
“We’ve been asking the status of the investigation, what the nature of the investigation is, are there any focused investigations on the chief himself. The federal office has not been able to confirm or deny anything for us,” said Taketa.
FBI special agent Tom Simon says by law, federal officials cannot confirm or deny a grand jury or investigation to anyone, including police commissioners.
“We need to have more transparency between the federal government and the City and County on what’s going on,” Espero said.
“We have no information that he’s done anything wrong. We know about the inquiries going on and again, once we become more aware of the information, we’ll take the appropriate steps,” Taketa said.
He said without knowing what federal officials are investigating, the city could face liability issues if commissioners took any type of action against the chief.