HONOLULU (KHON2) — A former board of directors member and the recent vice president said he was ousted from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers — the allegations detailed in a 45-page lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Honolulu Police Department Sgt. David “Kawika” Hallums alleged that immediately following being sworn in as SHOPO’s vice president on Jan. 5, his fellow board of directors removed him because he was a whistleblower. Hallums’ attorney, Bosko Petricevic, said Hallums was given a resignation letter, and pressured by another board member to sign. He alleges that SHOPO leadership threatened prosecution if he refused.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
“These are high-ranking experienced HPD officers who should know better. And they’re literally threatening their fellow officer with criminal prosecution to settle a personal score,” Petricevic said. “Obviously Kawika refused and that was the end of it,”
Petricevic said that the move came after Hallums complained about misuse of union funds by another SHOPO board member, among other things.
SHOPO President Robert Cavaco denies these allegations and stated “the complaint filed by Mr. Hallums has no factual or legal merit. The allegations against SHOPO and its new leaders are false,”
SHOPO also claimed that it was Hallums that misused union funds by taking vacation and per diem during a 2019 work trip.
“Mr. Hallums profited by double-dipping in violation of SHOPO’s applicable rules and policies, and that behavior could not be tolerated,” Cavaco said. “His decision jeopardized the trust and working relationship between SHOPO, the HPD, and all the other county police agencies statewide that SHOPO represents.”
Malcolm Lutu, the former SHOPO president during that time, said that Hallums was allowed to do so by HPD and he did not violate by-laws, adding “more power to him.”
Petricevic added that Hallums voluntarily paid the money back.
“Everybody knew about it, everybody was ok with it, everybody said nothing,” said Petricevic.
The civil lawsuit comes as HPD prepares for new leadership, with Joe Logan set to become the next police chief, though when he will officially be sworn in has yet to be set.
“This is not just SHOPO members these are officers, and what they do outside of HPD matters. So they need to look at that complaint,” Petricevic said.
SHOPO said that Hallums was removed on March 4 after receiving due process.
“SHOPO will not give in to unfounded threats and false charges. We will defend this case vigorously, and because this complaint is not based on fact, we look forward to being vindicated at trial,” Cavaco said.
KHON2 asked SHOPO for more details about why Hallums was removed three years after receiving per-diem given that he was previously on the board of directors, but SHOPO declined to comment further.
As for what Hallums is seeking in the lawsuit, his lawyer didn’t discuss financial damages.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
“Number one thing that we want, they must clear his name,” Petricevic said.