Yes, we are different from Minneapolis; our police misdeeds are kept secret
UH journalism vet Gerald Kato joins Keli'i Akina on the next "Hawaii Together"
From Grassroot Institute, July 3, 2020
The intense secrecy that has come to characterize the Honolulu Police Department will be discussed by Gerald Kato, University of Hawaii communications professor and former journalist, during Keli'i Akina's next "Hawaii Together" program, Monday, July 6, starting at 2 p.m.
On June 15, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a stinging commentary by Kato and local attorney Jeffrey Portnoy that called for making public the records of Hawaii police misconduct. In the June 28 edition of the newspaper, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said she opposes publicizing the names of officers suspended or fired for misdeeds, calling them "a knee-jerk reaction for things that are going on on the mainland."
Ballard was referring to the nationwide protests and riots sparked by the case of George Floyd, who died May 25 as a result of prolonged "knee-to-neck assault" by a Minneapolis police officer. She suggested that Honolulu has so few such cases that greater public disclosure is unnecessary. "We are different," she said.
However, as Kato and Portnoy noted, calls for greater public disclosure in Honolulu are not new; they go back at least 25 years.
And yes, we are different: In Minneapolis, the officers involved were quickly identified and fired, even before criminal charges were filed against them. But if the tragedy had happened in Honolulu, wrote Kato and Portnoy, "you would not know the names of the officers involved unless and until they were charged criminally. You would not know whether the officers were ever subject to any prior misconduct complaints. This information currently is secret."
To learn more about efforts to shine light on the Honolulu Police Department — which also has refused for years to disclose why it denies conceal carry permits to virtually all individuals who would seem to qualify — tune in to the next "Hawaii Together" episode, Monday, 2 p.m., on the ThinkTech Hawaii network.