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Friday, December 15, 2000

Officer sentenced
in prisoner’s beating,

By Debra Barayuga

Sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for one mistake in an otherwise spotless career with the Honolulu Police Department, A.C. Brown hopes he has taught his children two lessons: Be responsible. Be truthful.

"It's not just the right thing to do, but the only thing to do," he said, before leaving U.S. District Court with his wife and supporters yesterday.

Those are lessons he knows only too well since a June 1999 federal indictment charged him and four other Honolulu police officers with conspiracy and deprivation of civil rights for the beating of prisoner Richard Doolin in August 1995 at the Honolulu Receiving Desk. Brown resigned from the force in July.

Brown, who pleaded guilty in August, was the second officer to plead guilty to felony charges in connection with the beating. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive Doolin of his civil right to be kept free from harm, said Gerard Hogan, attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to court documents, Brown agreed with fellow officers to assault Doolin to punish him for his belligerence at the Pearl City station, helped write a report that gave a false explanation for Doolin's injuries, and agreed with other officers later to stick to their story in the false report.

Brown faced a prison term of between 51 to 63 months under federal sentencing guidelines, but the government recommended a reduction in exchange for his cooperation, Hogan said.

Brown's attorney, Mary Wilkowski, called him a "good cop who made a single bad mistake." Because of Brown's "early and complete cooperation," his three remaining co-defendants have since pleaded guilty, she said.

Brown earlier apologized to the court for failing to uphold his duties as a law enforcement officer. "What I did was terribly wrong, and I accept full responsibility and the consequences," he said.

He also apologized to Doolin for the "pain and suffering inflicted on him." To his co-workers, he said he was sorry for "tarnishing the image of the badge they have worked so hard to achieve."

In a poignant letter to the judge, Delphine Brown described her husband as a caring, loving family man who adopted her two older children as his own and shared a special bond with their two younger boys.

She described her husband's actions as "completely out of character" and for which he is "deeply sorry."

"He has answered the hard questions asked by our children and shared the lessons he has learned," she wrote. "Our family has grown even closer through this tragedy."

In asking the courts not to put her husband away from his family longer than necessary, Delphine Brown concluded, "He made a terrible mistake. ... We will support him through our separation."

"It's a sad day for us," police Chief Lee Donohue said in response to the Brown sentencing. "But out of the hundreds of thousands of encounters that we have that could become confrontational, the majority of the time, our officers have made the right decision. There have been times they have made the wrong decision."

Saying he did not consider Brown a danger to the community nor a flight risk, U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay yesterday ordered Brown to self-surrender on Feb. 28 to a facility to be designated by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

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