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Tuesday, June 9, 2020
June 9, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:12 PM :: 2135 Views

Rep Case Bill Would Allow States to Impose Air-Travel COVID Testing

Debate: Jones Act Necessary for National Security?

Dr. Tony Trpkovski -- Protecting Yourself & Hawaii from Coronavirus

PIT Count: Oahu Homeless Numbers Nearly Unchanged from 2019

Hawaii House Speaker Says Cop Misconduct Bill Is ‘On Our Radar’

CB: … Amidst calls for greater transparency in police departments, the Legislature could revive a bill that would require police departments to release details of misconduct for suspended or fired officers.

Unlike other public employees, discipline records of police officers are exempt from Hawaii’s public records law unless that officer is fired. The measure to disclose officer names and allow the release of misconduct records for suspended officers, House Bill 285, has been stuck in a conference committee between the House and Senate for over a year.

Now, House Speaker Scott Saiki wants his lead negotiator on HB 285 to start working on it again….

From This Legislative Session -- Another Law Enforcement Reform We Need: Ige, Ballard, Legislators Agree: Mentally Ill Must be Forcibly Committed to Treatment Centers  

SA: Editorial: Accountability key to police reform

CB: New York Tries To Lift The Veil On Police Misconduct — Will Hawaii Follow?

DS: Confronting Police Abuse Requires Shifting Power From Police Unions

AP: Duty to intervene: Floyd cops spoke up but didn’t step in

read … Hawaii House Speaker Says Cop Misconduct Bill Is ‘On Our Radar’

Honolulu Police To Temporarily Halt Use Of Vascular Neck Restraints

CB: … In response to global outrage at the death of George Floyd who died as a police officer kneeled on his neck for over 8 minutes, the Honolulu Police Department will temporarily stop using vascular neck restraints.

The tactic restricts blood flow to the brain and renders a person unconscious. It is different from a chokehold, which restricts a person’s airway. Last week, the department started reviewing its use of force policy “very closely” and decided to make the change on Monday morning, according to Chief Susan Ballard….

What exactly HPD’s use of force policy said about VNRs and what it says now is unclear. The department has blacked out a large section of the policy on its website. Asked about this at the press conference on Monday, Ballard said “they are techniques that we chose to redact.”

When the city finishes its review of the use of force policy, “you’ll see less redactions,” Ballard said.

By email, HPD spokeswoman Yu said the policy is redacted pursuant to HRS Section 92F-13(3) – a section of the open records law that allows agencies to withhold information “to avoid the frustration of a legitimate government function.” She provided no further explanation.

On Monday afternoon, the chief appeared to object to comments made earlier in the day by two attorneys Mayor Kirk Caldwell nominated to the Honolulu Police Commission. Former Family Court Judge Michael Broderick and former Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, who also served as Hawaii’s attorney general, said they wanted to review HPD policies and consider reform measures proposed by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Just because Broderick and Chin are attorneys doesn’t make them law enforcement experts, Ballard said.

“We can’t forget that they make instantaneous decisions,” Ballard said of her officers. “They don’t have time to slow down the frame, bit by bit, to see what’s going on. They don’t have time to turn around and consult with somebody else to decide what it is that they need to do. They have to make split-second decisions.”

Ballard said that she believes Honolulu is different from mainland police departments because HPD officers live in the neighborhoods they patrol….

SA: Honolulu Police Department reviewing vascular neck restraint policy in wake of Minneapolis

KITV: Chief Ballard says her department is reviewing its own use of force policy.

read … Honolulu Police To Temporarily Halt Use Of Vascular Neck Restraints

Hilo judges recuse themselves from hearing former cop’s assault, abuse cases

HTH: … Both Hilo Circuit judges, Henry Nakamoto and Peter Kubota, filed certificates of recusal for a pair of cases in which the defendant is 56-year-old Ian Lee Loy, the husband of County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy of Hilo.

The cases are now assigned to Kona Circuit Judge Robert Kim. A clerk in Kim’s chambers said he will hear the cases and that a hearing was conducted Monday, but she didn’t know what occurred….

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth has, in his words, “conflicted out” in both of the retired cop’s cases, and the Kauai County prosecutor’s office will handle both cases.

Ian Lee Loy told Big Island newspapers in December, prior to being charged, that a possible reason for the assault allegation against him was his involvement as a witness in a case involving two other police officers indicted for allegedly tipping off a gambling ring prior to a police raid Aug. 10, 2017.

“Allegations of misconduct on my part and dragging Sue into it began to surface,” he said at the time. “These guys are trying to discredit me before I testify.”

The officers Lee Loy referred to are Chadwick Fukui, a retired Hawaii Police Department captain and former commander of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division, and Brian Miller, a retired Hilo Vice Section detective.

Fukui and Miller were charged in separate indictments by a Kona grand jury with tipping off Triple 7 arcade owners Lance and Stacey Yamada prior to the raid.

Charges against Fukui, all misdemeanors, were dismissed without prejudice in December after Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura, since retired, ruled Fukui’s cellphone call records, obtained by an administrative subpoena, were inadmissible as evidence as “the constitutional requirement of obtaining a warrant for telephone records applied.”

Those charges were refiled by Roth in February, however, and Kubota and Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach recused themselves from hearing the case, which is scheduled for a hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in Hilo District Court.

Miller still faces similar charges in connection with the gambling raid, as well as unrelated felony charges in connection with the alleged theft of cocaine from a police evidence locker in May 2016.

Kubota also recused himself in Miller’s case, as well as in the cases against both Yamadas, and co-defendants David Colon and Ivar Kaluhikaua, all of whom are facing misdemeanor gambling-related charges in connection with the 2017 raid….

read … Hilo judges recuse themselves from hearing former cop’s assault, abuse cases

Rail’s future hinges on P3 pact

SA: … The recent rail project news has produced its usual worries: The latest is the proposal for a $9.19 million change order from the engineering firm AECOM.

The question now is whether the larger cost- benefit calculation will change, too. Sometime after July 22, there could be more information on that score. That’s when rail officials now anticipate that potential bidders for the public-private partnership (P3) contract will submit proposals. The show of business interest at that point will say a lot….

read … Rail’s future hinges on P3 pact

DoH: Open Hawaii to Japan, NZ, Alaska

HNN: … State health director Bruce Anderson says that’s why Hawaii should consider reopening travel first to destinations with similar infection rates like Japan, New Zealand, or even Alaska.

"I would feel much more comfortable opening our airports to locations that have low rates of disease," said Anderson….

read … More push to require a negative COVID test before flying to Hawaii

Gov. Ige asks protesters from weekend Black Lives Matter rallies to voluntarily self-isolate

SA: … he said he was concerned after seeing the sheer numbers of protesters that participated — in the thousands — and how closely packed together they were.

“I certainly would ask you to self-isolate yourselves for a couple days and make sure, clearly, if you do become symptomatic don’t hesitate in getting services,” said Ige. “Finally I just would encourage them to stay away from any kupuna or loved ones that they have who may be in the high-risk category.”

Many younger people can be asymptomatic, he said, and unaware that they may be carrying the virus. He encouraged them to be mindful of that.

“I certainly would encourage them to just be mindful and aware they may be asymptomatic and that would be the last thing anyone would want to do,” he said, “is infect a kupuna or an aunty or uncle who are very susceptible to the disease.”….

SA: VIDEO: Gov. David Ige discusses coronavirus updates on COVID-19 Care Conversation

read … Gov. Ige asks protesters from weekend Black Lives Matter rallies to voluntarily self-isolate

No new cases of COVID-19 reported at Kalakaua Gardens

KHON: … On O'ahu no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the senior living community Kalakaua Gardens.

On Friday the facility reported two of its employees tested positive for the virus.

The company says it's continuing to test all of its staff as well as its residents who want to be tested ….

read … No new cases of COVID-19 reported at Kalakaua Gardens

Doctors worry that patients are neglecting their regular visits as well as their health

SA: … “It is a big problem. We have heard from physicians who are telling us people are canceling their visits. We have heard of people who have withheld going to the doctor’s office even when they have some symptoms that should be alarming,” said Lola Irvin, DOH administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “If they delay, they could end up in catastrophic situations.”….

Dr. Kelley Withy, executive director of the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center, estimates about 20% of doctors have closed their practices over the past few months.

“This is an opportunity for them to move, whether to retire or go to the mainland,” said Dr. Christopher Flanders, executive director of the Hawaii Medical Association, adding that patient numbers haven’t come back to the same levels seen prior to Hawaii’s stay-at-home order in March. “We attribute that to people being nervous about going into a doctor’s office where they might be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. It is critical that they go back because … the people who have chronic diseases, they’re only going to get worse.”…

read … Doctors worry that patients are neglecting their regular visits as well as their health

Unions press government on COVID safety

HNN: … Recently, workers at the Hawaii Paroling Authority raised the alarm on dangerously crowded spaces where officers and parolees met. Acting together, workers there convinced the administration to implement social distancing procedures and make disinfecting solutions available to employees and members of the public who enter the buildings. This is a change that made it safer not just for the employees, but the clients and public they serve and the families they go home to — in other words, the entire community.

But more needs to be done. As Hawaii’s health experts are giving the green light to reopen businesses, we are seeing strong safety protocols put in place in retail stores and restaurants.

Yet at the state and local levels, we are finding that decisions about worker and public safety are being delegated down to department heads or line supervisors. Each department doing something different, or practically not doing anything at all is a recipe for chaos, confusion, and potentially more community spread.

HGEA/AFSCME Local 152, Hawaii’s largest public service union, and UPW/AFSCME Local 646, its sister union, are ready to work with the state for a seamless transition back to full service while ensuring employees and their clients will be operating in a safe environment.

But the state needs to set clear standards before bringing employees back to the workplace and reopening services to the public. Our experience over the last several months shows us that even one or two departments with ineffective procedures could put workers and our community at risk, or even reignite spread and set Hawaii back weeks or months. We need everyone to be on the same page to ensure that reopening occurs in a safe manner for everyone.

That means setting standards for employee and citizen safety, cleaning and sanitizing of workplaces, training all employees on health and safety protocols, providing sufficient personal protective equipment to employees, and establishing the means of implementing social distancing for both employees and the public….

read … Unions press government on COVID safety

Labor department sees more fraud activity connected to pandemic unemployment aid

KHON: … The labor department’s spokesperson said it did not suffer a data breach, hackers are using stolen information that could have been taken from people years ago.

Some viewers reported receiving a letter from the state, in it were details of a person’s eligibility for the PUA program, but the issue is that some of them did not apply for the assistance.

The Hawaii Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific, Roseann Freitas, said hackers could use stolen information from years ago, once they have a person address and social security number it is simple to claim for unemployment….

(This is what happens when DLIR has a 30 yr old DOS-based system full of 30 year old data.)

read … Labor department sees more fraud activity connected to pandemic unemployment aid

Roth alarmed by release of suspect in violent home invasion

HTH: … A letter from the Big Island’s prosecutor to a special master appointed by the state Supreme Court to oversee an orderly population reduction in the state’s jails and prisons expressed alarm over the release of a pretrial detainee in a violent home invasion after judges twice reduced the man’s bail.

The letter dated May 22 from County Prosecutor Mitch Roth to Daniel R. Foley doesn’t name the defendant, but the circumstances described by Roth refer to Phillip Jon Richardson, a 34-year-old Pahoa man accused of two counts of strong-arm robbery, first-degree burglary and fourth-degree theft.

The robbery and burglary charges are Class B felonies punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.

“While the initial orders from the Supreme Court looked at non-dangerous defendants being released to prevent a possible COVID-19 outbreak in our correctional facilities, the interpretation by some judges appears to be that they are doing all they can to prevent us from incarcerating offenders no matter what the crime,” Roth wrote….

Richardson is accused of entering a Hawaiian Beaches home Nov. 30, assaulting a 56-year-old woman resident, stealing her cordless phone, then taking a swing at the woman’s husband and missing — before leaving with the phone.

According to the complaint, Richardson later tried to take a motor vehicle from a 70-year-old man by force, damaged the vehicle in an amount exceeding $500 and took the man’s car keys.

Richardson’s $76,000 bail was reduced Dec. 2 to $50,000 by Hilo District Judge Kimberly Taniyama…

Roth noted that a bail study, which is not a public document, was done on Richardson and found the risk level of re-offending high. According to the letter, the study showed that Richardson was previously sentenced to three periods of incarceration and had tested positive for illicit drugs.

On May 12, one of the mental examiners’ reports had still not been filed and the fitness hearing was postponed. Melody Parker, Richardson’s court-appointed attorney, requested that Richardson be freed on court-supervised release without monetary bail. Hilo District Judge Jeffrey Hawk denied that request, but reduced Richardson’s bail to $25,000, which was posted May 21 by Aloha Bail Bonds.

“To add insult to injury, while the first motion had conditions of bail not to contact, threaten or harm the crime victim, this new order did not,” Roth wrote….

read … Roth alarmed by release of suspect in violent home invasion

Dead Homeless Dude had 24 Criminal Convictions, Yet State Refused to Provide him with Long Term Housing in a nice safe Prison

SA: The 40-year-old man accused in the stabbing death of a 52-year-old homeless man in Kakaako claimed it was self-defense, according to court documents filed at Honolulu District Court today.

… (The dead victim) Koga has a criminal record in Hawaii dating back to 1987 that include three felony convictions, 17 misdemeanor convictions and four petty misdemeanor convictions….

(If he had been locked up in a nice safe prison, he would be alive today.  Soft on crime kills criminals.)

read … Man accused in stabbing death of Kakaako homeless man, 52, alleges self-defense

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