Tuesday, June 22, 1999

HPD fights
officer’s return to
promotion list

By Debra Barayuga


The Honolulu Police Department is contesting a decision to reinstate a lieutenant acquitted of extortion and sexual assault to a list of those eligible for promotion.

In a notice of appeal filed yesterday in Circuit Court, the department and city said the Civil Service Commission's Feb. 23 decision to return Dennis S.C. Yuen to the list overstepped statutory authority and was "clearly erroneous" in view of evidence presented.

The commission had found that the department violated civil service rules by removing Yuen's name from the promotion assessment list. Yuen was one of 12 out of 36 applicants in January 1991 who passed a written exam for promotion to captain and was put on the list.

The department's Administrative Review Board during that time was reviewing possible disciplinary actions against Yuen, after he was accused in June 1990 of raping a teen-age prostitute in a Liliha stairwell.

After initially recommending he be fired, the review board recommended a 30-day suspension and a psychological exam.

Less than a month later, Yuen was notified that his name had been taken off the assessment list because he had been found "unfit for promotion." Yuen appealed.

However, based on allegations by two other women against Yuen, he was indicted in 1992 on criminal charges including extortion, kidnapping and sexual assault, and was dismissed.

Yuen filed a grievance with the police union. The commission agreed to hold his appeal on the removal of his name from promotional consideration, pending the outcome of his grievance and criminal trial.

Yuen subsequently was acquitted of the charges when his case ended in a mistrial in July 1994. In August 1998, an arbitrator ordered that he be reinstated to his former position as lieutenant, with three years of back pay and benefits.

Yuen, who was in the Communications Division when he was dismissed, had been with the department for 21 years before the allegations surfaced.

After taking a refresher course with the department's 130th recruit class, he returned to the police payroll in September.

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