Kauai police chief sued
for wrongful termination

By Debra Barayuga

The former secretary to Kauai Police Chief George Freitas alleges that she was fired in part because she testified and participated in the investigation against him by the Kauai County Police Commission.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, Jacquelyn Tokashiki said the firing violated her constitutional rights to freedom of speech and due process. She is seeking to be reinstated as secretary to the police chief or a comparable position, compensatory and punitive damages of no less than $250,000 each and special damages including back pay and benefits.

Freitas said yesterday he had not seen the complaint, and deferred comment to county attorneys who are handling it on his behalf.

Tokashiki was hired in 1980 as an employee who is exempt from civil service to serve as the secretary to the police chief and to the Kauai County Police Commission, according to the suit. The suit said Freitas ordered her removed as secretary on Jan. 7, 2002, the first day he returned to the job from a suspension, and transferred her to another unit from which he fired her on April 26.

When asked why she was being removed, Freitas allegedly told her there was tension in the office and referred to a letter to the editor she had written to Honolulu Magazine concerning his suspension, the suit said.

During her 23 years with Kauai police and the commission, Tokashiki has always received favorable performance evaluations, the suit said.

Tokashiki processed the complaints of Lt. Alvin Seto and Police Inspector Melvin Morris, which led the commission to suspend Freitas in August 2001 with pay while they investigated the complaints.

The commission issued Freitas written reprimands for minor infractions. Freitas was allowed to return to work in January 2002.

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