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Thursday, January 1, 2015
SHOPO Sues City to Block Release of Police Disciplinary Records
By Andrew Walden @ 10:04 AM :: 5492 Views :: Ethics, Labor, Law Enforcement

by Andrew Walden

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers filed suit December 24 to block the City and County of Honolulu from releasing police personnel and disciplinary records to Civil Beat.  The text of SHOPO’s suit outlines the chain of events leading up to their suit:

The Civil Beat lawsuit is still pending before the ICA and the ICA's 7/1/14 stay order is still in effect.

On 12/5/14, Plaintiff SHOPO was notified by Defendant City that Civil Beat was requesting that Defendant City disclose "documents related lo the last completed arbitration proceeding involving a Honolulu police officer who had,been disciplined by the department for misconduct."' Civil Beat informed Defendant City that it "intends to widely disseminate the requested information to the general public."

Upon information and belief, the disciplinary information being requested by Civil Beat does not relate to the termination of a county police officer and is therefore subject to the privacy protections provided by HRS §§ 92F-13 and 92F-14(b)(4)(B), Judge Kochi's 2001 Order, the ICA's 7/1/14 stay order, and will be materially affected by !he outcome of the Civil Beat lawsuit.

Upon learning of Civil Beat's new request, Plaintiff SHOPO informed and reminded Defendant City that the ICA's stay order was in effect as well Judge Kochi's 2001 order, thus precluding and prohibiting the disclosure of the requested records.

On 12/10/14, Defendant City acknowledged tba1 Judge Kochi's 2001 order was still valid, however, it still intended to disclose the requested records with "the redacted names and other information" pursuant to HRS §92F-12(a)(2).

On 12/17/14, Defendant City informed Plaintiff SHOPO that it would disclose the disciplinary information, but would "substantially redact the award to comply with HRS §92F-14(b)(4)(B)(v) or the Judge Kochi’s 2001 decision."

On 12/12/14, Plaintiff SHOPO transmitted a letter to Defendant City objecting to the disclosure of the requested information because: (1) the ICA granted a stay in the Civil Beat lawsuit that foreclosed the release of disciplinary information involving officers who were disciplined but not terminated from HPD; (2) Judge Kochi’s 3/16/01 ruling precludes and prohibits "the release by Defendants of any information regarding [HPD] officers who were the subject of discipline~ unless those officers exhausted all their administrative remedies and were terminated due to disciplinary infractions"; and [3] a clear reading of HRS 92F-13(1) prohibits the release of the subject records as an "unwarranted invasion of a police officers' personal privacy[.]" See Exhibit G.

On 12/17/14, Defendant City notified Plaintiff SHOPO that it still intended to release a redacted Version of the requested information to Civil Beat.

In response, Plaintiff SHOPO informed Defendant City, "[w]e also wanted this opportunity to reiterate our position that we believe the city will be in contempt of the ICA's pending stay order if it releases any information. We believe the prudent approach would be to have Civil Boat seek court redress if they read the stay order differently."

On 12/19/14, Defendant City informed Plaintiff that "[i]f no challenge is filed we will tum the record over to Civil Beat.”  Defendant City further informed Plaintiff SHOPO, "please be aware if Civil Beat threatens further legal action, the decision may be to tum over an unredacted copy."

PDF: SHOPO vs Honolulu.

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