Police detectiveA Honolulu police detective is alleging he was reassigned from the Criminal Intelligence Unit for being a "whistleblower" and alerting federal officials to misconduct by some administrators, supervisors and officers.
His suit names Chief Donohue
and others; the detective says
he was transferred after alerting
federal officials to misconduct
By Rod Ohira
The federal lawsuit filed yesterday by 27-year HPD veteran Kenneth Kamakana names the city, the Police Department, Chief Lee Donohue and Lt. Milton Olmos as defendants.
Kamakana has been involved in confidential narcotics/organized crime undercover investigations for more than half his HPD career.
The suit says Kamakana was notified by Olmos on Aug. 15 that, effective Sept. 15, he would be transferred from CIU to the Criminal Investigation Division's auto theft detail.
"This transfer was direct retaliation against Kamakana for reporting the violations of federal and state law, and reporting the misconduct involving officers and men of the HPD, both to his superior officers, and to the United States Department of Justice, through the FBI and office of the United States attorney."
Kamakana had reported that Olmos, one detective, an officer and possibly others including Donohue, decided on or about July 25 to interview and tape a conversation with a woman indicted in July for gambling and money-laundering offenses in Chinatown.
The case is related to a Chinatown raid in May in which 32 people were indicted by the federal government.
The FBI had notified HPD that such an interview was "impermissible and illegal," the suit says.
One reason the interview may have been conducted was concern the woman could possibly enter into a plea agreement against another indicted suspect, who had a close relationship with some CIU officers, the suit says.
After first denying there was a taped interview and then refusing to turn over the tape, police eventually turned over an edited version to federal officials, the suit says. What is missing are portions "which some or all officers, and/or Chief Donohue, felt would be damaging to them," the suit says.
Donohue was unavailable for comment.
But Corporation Counsel David Arakawa said, "I haven't received a file copy of the suit to review. However, we are certain that HPD will investigate it adequately and address any allegations."
Other allegations raised in the suit include:
An attempt by a CIU detective to collect $30,000 on behalf of a businessman involved in the shark-fin trade. The money was owed by a man with ties to local Korean organized crime.
Another detective was asked to inform the debtor that "if he did not pay back the money, CIU was going to arrest (him) for theft."
The second detective ignored several requests to pass the message and eventually told Kamakana about it. Together, they brought it to the attention of federal officials, who are currently investigating the complaint, the suit says.
Compromising ties between Olmos and an unnamed CIU detective with two men "who could be potentially investigated by the unit" at a January 1999 Inter County Criminal Intelligence Unit conference.
One of the two men was among the 32 indicted in the Chinatown raid. "The presence of the individuals at the conference was entirely inappropriate and had the potential of compromising investigations," the suit said.