Kauai police commissioner blasts detractors
LIHUE » Kauai Police Commissioner Carol Furtado accused Kauai politicians of conducting a "witch hunt" to get rid of embattled Kauai Police Chief K.C. Lum.
Furtado voiced her allegations yesterday during a Kauai Board of Ethics hearing to discuss her alleged ethical violations.
Furtado said the mayor, the County Council, another police commissioner and perhaps even members of the Board of Ethics have tried in concert to smear her name and the chief's name because of the commission's selection of Lum in 2004, whom she called "not the popular choice."
Lum, who has been asked to resign by Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste, members of the County Council and the police union, is still holding on to the top-cop job.
The Police Commission has begun a process to remove Lum, but no date for a hearing has been set. An effort to rescind Lum's contract is already under way after another commissioner was found to have violated ethics rules during Lum's selection.
Furtado said the attempt to remove commissioners who supported Lum will allow the mayor and Council to speed up the process to get rid of the chief.
"They're hunting (Lum) by trying to get rid of me," Furtado said after the hearing. "It's not going to end here. It will continue. If I am (cleared), they will find something else."
She said it might not be everyone in the ethics board or the Council, but certain key members, outspoken critics of Lum, are looking for any excuse to remove him.
"They are looking for someone to crucify to get the end result, which is the removal of K.C. Lum," she said.
Furtado said she neither influenced other members of the commission nor was biased in favor of Lum. Nor would she change her decision if it were made today.
"I had to make my own choice, and it may have not been the popular one," she said. "Would I now change my vote? The answer is no."
County Councilman Mel Rapozo, Furtado's cousin, said last week that "there is no concerted effort by this Council to get rid of (recently resigned Police Commissioner Michael) Ching or Lum."
Rapozo, however, has repeatedly said that Lum is not qualified and was the wrong choice.
Council Chairman Kaipo Asing has said he has "no quarrel against Chief Lum" and challenged anyone to provide proof that the ethics process has not been "fair and open."
Furtado, meanwhile, is facing a charge that she helped make the selection process unfair to the other two final chief candidates when Lum was selected in 2004. Two other charges also brought by fellow Commissioner Leon Gonsalves Sr. have been withdrawn.
Gonsalves has his own problems. He has been accused of his own ethics violations relating to the selection of the chief, and an e-mail calling Lum a derogatory term has led to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Lum against the Council, Gonsalves and the county.
He would not comment on the lawsuit or on commission business last week.