Hawaii Police Brutality and
- A former Honolulu police officer contends he struck a man in
self-defense during a confrontation outside police headquarters shortly
after the man was released from police custody.
A. Oliva, a 20-year veteran who left the department last August, went
on trial yesterday before District Judge Rhonda Nishimura, charged with
misdemeanor third-degree assault.
is accused of striking Levi Ka'ai, once in the space between his eyes,
causing a bleeding gash that required at least 11 stitches.
testified yesterday that he had just been released from custody and was
putting his shoes on next to his friend's truck on Hotel Street behind
police headquarters when Oliva pulled out of the parking garage and
allegedly approached and said something to the effect, "Here I am, no
more badge, no more gun," and began taunting him to fight.
had arrested him earlier that morning on Pohukaina Street while he and
friends were hanging out and drinking in the bed of a friend's truck.
He was arrested for having an open container in the car and that was
when Oliva began taunting him about being a "wise ass" and being
apparently became angry when he asked Ka'ai how old he was and Ka'ai
answered, "You have my ID in front of you."
said Oliva appeared angry at his response and ordered him down from the
truck, cursing at him, saying he was going to jail.
said he had no intention of getting arrested again and told Oliva. But
just as he looked away, Oliva punched him in the face, causing him to
then jumped on him and began attacking him as Ka'ai's friends watched.
Ka'ai's friends called 911 to report the incident and managed to take
several digital photos of the incident but not the punch.
- HONOLULU - A Honolulu police officer has been charged in
court with getting paid to provide protection for a crystal
According to the criminal complaint,
James L. Corn Junior was arrested yesterday after he received
one-thousand dollars from an undercover officer involved in a sting
Corn is making his first court appearance in U-S District Court this
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu says Corn's police powers were stripped
last year as part of a separate investigation.
The officer has been on the force for three years.
Chief Boisse Correa says he was very disappointed and will continue to
work hard to do whatever is necessary to maintain the department's
integrity and the public's confidence.
07/23/2005 - A former Maui police officer is one of seven people
indicted in connection with a drug ring that authorities say stretched
from the Valley Isle to Las Vegas.
federal indictment accuses former officer Reed Aken of being a courier
who took drug money from Maui to Las Vegas, and returning to Maui with
a replenishment of drugs.
wife, Cryinah Aken, was also indicted, accused of handling the
financial side of the operation.
06/16/2005 - A federal judge ruled that a Honolulu police
is awaiting trial for allegedly selling crystal methamphetamine cannot
be released to the custody of a fellow officer.
Henry Sylva, 49, was scheduled to be released on June 6 and placed
under the supervision of officer William Lurbe, a childhood friend and
fellow recruit classmate, under an order by Magistrate Judge Leslie
U.S. District Judge David Ezra said he had concerns about Lurbe's past,
including his being on state probation for an incident on Sept. 12,
2003, when he "veered" toward a motorist who then lost control and
crashed into a telephone pole.
enough to look after on his plate," Ezra said yesterday.
U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara said Lurbe's actions that day were
witnessed by another person driving behind them and that Lurbe "shoved"
both men after identifying himself as a police officer.
said in court yesterday that Lurbe showed a "total lapse of good
judgment" and that his actions amounted to "almost taking the law into
his own hands."
a memorandum filed June 6 challenging Sylva's custody release, Kawahara
also stated that the Honolulu Police Department disciplined Lurbe a
week before the traffic incident for submitting false mileage records
from 2002 to 2003 as well as "providing false information to obtain
special-duty jobs that he was not eligible to work" in 2002.
Lurbe has substantial credibility problems, in that he has exhibited a
pattern of providing false information," stated Kawahara in the
complaint. "Such a lack of credibility is inconsistent with his role of
a third-party custodian."
attorney, Alvin Nishimura, had sought his client's release so he could
get treatment for depression and a drinking problem that began four
years ago after he lost both parents.
to court documents, Nishimura said Sylva's depression led him to drink
and seek solace in women, one of whom took $100,000 in his retirement
money, causing him to lose his childhood home.
response to the court's questions about Lurbe's past, Nishimura said
that because Lurbe is on probation, he will be sure that his friend
will make every court date and comply with every nuance of his release.
will be no violations," Nishimura said. "That's not what he wants,
that's not what officer Lurbe wants, that's not what anyone wants."
said Sylva is not a drug user, but that he dealt with his depression by
providing drugs to attract women.
that Sylva is a devoted father who has not seen his 12-year-old
daughter since his March 28 arrest.
to court documents, Sylva was charged with distributing crystal meth,
or "ice," on three separate occasions to a federal law enforcement
informant. The alleged drug buys included one ounce of ice for $1,800
on March 11, an eighth of an ounce for $300 on March 18 and three
ounces on March 25 for $5,400.
prosecutors said that on the first sale, Sylva was on duty at the HPD
main station when he confirmed a meeting place for the drug buy during
a phone call, then drove to pick up the drugs and deliver them to the
informant. In the March 21 drug sale, prosecutors said Sylva sold the
ice while in uniform.
to the June 6 memorandum, Sylva demonstrated that he had "an extensive
history of methamphetamine trafficking" with such tape-recorded
comments to the informant about the quality of the ice saying it was
"really good" and that it "no look as rocky, but he said everybody
the same recorded conversations, prosecutors said, Sylva also talked
about how much ice he provided for his girlfriend for free.
"I gave her
$700 of dope yesterday," Sylva allegedly told the informant. "You think
I got $1 back? No.
bottom line is, I give this girl (girlfriend) a lot, you know what I
mean? (She) goes through a thousand dollars of dope a week."
being held without bail. A trial date has not been set. Lurbe had no
comment after the hearing yesterday.
HAWAII -- In his first public comments about a federal investigation
into allegations of gambling-related police corruption, Honolulu police
Chief Boisse Correa said yesterday that his officers are innocent until
declining to comment on the details and the disposition of the case,
Correa emphasized that illegal and inappropriate behavior will not be
tolerated at HPD.
a sad day that all of this is unraveling at this time," said Correa,
speaking after an awards ceremony at HPD's Alapa'i Street headquarters
yesterday. "But we have to make sure the department is clean. ... We
don't want officers in this profession that are doing things illegal."
comments come a few weeks after six HPD officers' homes were searched
by FBI agents as part of an investigation into allegations that
officers helped set up and protect illegal cockfights and other
gambling activity in exchange for things of value. The officers
allegedly helped to facilitate and protect large cockfighting derbies
of gambling, including card and dice games, are set up at the derbies.
cousin of one of the officers, a construction union official, also had
his home searched as part of the probe, said the man's attorney,
arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. FBI Special
Agent Arnold Laanui confirmed that seven search warrants have been
served but declined to disclose further details.
said he recently held a meeting with officers at the rank of captain
and above to stress that they will be held to higher standards. He
reminded them that they can be subject to disciplinary action or arrest
if they are caught driving under the influence, abusing a spouse,
playing politics on company time, or breaking laws of any kind.
06/04/2005 - WAILUKU – A Maui police officer went
“way out of the
limits of what society can accept,” 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph
said Thursday in ordering former Lahaina patrol officer Aaron Won to
five years in prison.
25, offered no statements to the court during a sentencing hearing on
his convictions for attempted second-degree extortion and second-degree
unlawful imprisonment. He was found guilty in a jury trial in December
of attempting to have a woman he had stopped for a traffic violation
engage in sexual acts with him.
rejected a defense attorney’s argument that Won should be
differently from any other person convicted for the first time of a
Class C felony – the extortion count – and that
there would be no
benefit in placing Won in prison.
judge responded that Won’s conduct in the incident, in which
solicited sex from a woman he had taken to a police substation, was
“extreme.” Although Won had not been in trouble
before and had served
the community effectively as a police officer, Cardoza said, those
considerations do not apply given Won’s use of his authority
police officer to violate the law.
the court’s mind, Mr. Won, when you used that extreme power
had to attempt to force someone to engage in that conduct . . . you
were way out of the limits of what society can accept,”
originally was charged with attempted first-degree sexual assault,
attempted second-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and second-degree
extortion. He was convicted by the jury of attempted second-degree
sexual assault as well as extortion and unlawful imprisonment, but the
sex assault charges later were dismissed as a result of motions filed
by defense attorney Philip Lowenthal.
charges stem from an incident on July 28 last year when Won stopped a
woman on Lower Honoapiilani Road for a traffic violation. The
27-year-old Honokowai woman did not speak English, did not have a
driver’s license and did not have insurance for the vehicle
woman later told police that Won drove her to the Napili police
substation where he held her in a room alone and attempted to have her
remove her blouse, have sexual intercourse with him and perform oral
sex, indicating he would arrest her if she did not comply.
she refused, he arrested her for driving without a license, for having
no insurance and for having an expired safety sticker.
trial, Won admitted to taking the woman to the substation but denied
that he attempted to solicit her for sex.
He said he wanted to interview her away from the noise of the traffic
on the road to try to help her because she did not speak English, and
subsequently lied about his actions because he knew he had violated
Maui Police Department general orders.
Lowenthal argued Thursday that Won should be sentenced solely on the
charges for which he was convicted – extortion and unlawful
– without considering the charges that had been dismissed. He
to a pre-sentence report that discussed the sex assault charges in its
must say I was surprised at the pre-sentence report. It should be a
recommendation based on what he has been convicted of, not what he was
charged with,” Lowenthal said.
attorney argued that the sentence for Won needs to consider the
positive contributions Won has made in his life, weighed against one
incident in which the victim suffered no physical injury.
has no record. He has a history of helping in the community. He was
working in the community as a law-enforcement officer. He has been in
the position of helping the community.”
Won was dismissed from the Maui Police Department, he also could not be
in a position of abusing his authority again, Lowenthal said. But as a
former police officer, he will face extreme hardships if he is
sentenced to prison.
is for people who are incorrigible. Society has other
alternatives,” he said.
Prosecutor Davelynn Tengan said there is a greater hardship imposed on
the victim, a woman who had come to Maui from a country where police
are known to be corrupt and who had believed she could trust the police
at the hardship he has imposed on the victim, the impact of what this
has caused to her,” Tengan said.
if Won is no longer a police officer, Tengan added, his attitude and
lack of remorse suggest that he could still “place himself
law in whatever employment he finds.”
actions also have had an effect on all of the officers in the Maui
Police Department, whose reputations are stained by an officer who
commits a crime.
of the men and women who go out every day to do their job . . . they
are hurt by this,” she said.
have to think that when an officer tells them to stop, it is a good
thing to stop. They don’t need to be afraid of
what’s going to happen
when the officer approaches them.”
As a police
officer, she said, Won “should be held to a higher
standard,” of which he fell far short.
had used the power of his badge and his uniform to attempt to force a
woman to have sex,” she said. That warrants a more severe
the sentencing, Tengan said her office felt no satisfaction that
Cardoza agreed with her argument.
not a happy day when a police officer gets this result,” she
work with police officers. We work with police officers all the
said she is concerned that the public image of the Maui Police
Department is tarnished by Won’s actions and his conviction.
actions of one officer should not reflect on all of the other officers
who do not abuse the authority given them, she said. For his actions,
and the harm they have caused to the victim and to the department, she
said, Won deserves the prison term.
03/30/05 - Hawaii - A 22-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department
is in federal custody, suspected of selling crystal meth. Robert Henry
Sylva made his initial court appearance at US District Court on Tuesday
Sylva was arrested for a series of undercover buys of 'ice' to
investigators and people working with investigators," says Ed Kubo,
United States Attorney.
Monday, Sylva was arrested at HPD headquarters, where he'd been
assigned to answer non-emergency phone calls from the public.
he worked at the Kalihi substation as a patrol officer.
you have these types of situations where you have dirty cops available
and selling ice, it's just gut-wrenching," says Kubo.
to the affidavit, Sylva was caught selling "ice" to a person working
undercover for the FBI on three separate occasions this month.
affidavit states that person had apparently been buying "ice" from
Sylva since last November, and knew he was a cop.
For the past
three months, Sylva has been renting a condominium at Makaua Village in
watch had suspected some illegal activity, and they contacted their
contact with the police department," says Rick Blechinger, Makaua
Village resident manager.
says he and other residents noticed people visiting Sylva's studio unit
at all hours of the day and night.
the complex identified some of those people as drug users," says
says Sylva lived in unit 512 with his daughter and a woman.
agents raided Sylva's apartment Monday morning.
life as a police officer is no more, and so is his freedom," says Kubo.
magistrate will decide on Friday whether Sylva will have to remain in
jail until his trial.
currently on leave without pay from the Honolulu Police Department.
He faces up
to ten years in prison if convicted of selling drugs.
Involved: Robert fu
04/20/04 -- A former police officer who pleaded no contest to stealing
$360 recovered during a drug arrest will have a chance to remove the
conviction from his record after five years under conditions similar to
Judge Virginia Crandall granted Robert Fu, 44, a deferral yesterday of
his no-contest plea to second-degree theft, punishable by a maximum
five-year prison term.
Although Fu was eligible for the deferral because the offense is a
Class C felony and he has a clean record, Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell
objected. He said Fu's explanation for what happened was "simply not
credible." Police were called to respond to a case at a Waikiki hotel
on Aug. 9, 2002, and found drugs, drug paraphernalia and cash in a shoe
box. Fu, an 11-year veteran, was one of three Narcotics/Vice Division
officers who arrived later and was responsible for searching the hotel
room and recovering the evidence, police said. When later asked about
the cash, Fu claimed ignorance. John Nix, arrested in connection with
the drugs, later complained to police that money he had in the room had
not been entered into evidence. Later, Fu told investigators he took
the money intending to ask the officer in charge if it could be
recovered, but accidentally flushed it down the toilet when he went to
use the bathroom. Bell said Fu did not tell anyone until three days
later what happened and when he was already under suspicion.