Lawsuit Alleges Bad Behavior by Hilo Police


From: Hawaii Tribune-Herald

A former Hilo businessman is suing the Hawaii Police Department and two of its officers, claiming he was wrongly arrested, his civil rights were violated, one of his firearms was stolen after a search of his home, and police tampered with his cellphone.

Honolulu attorney Joseph Rosenbaum filed the civil lawsuit Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court on behalf of 44-year-old Christopher Kagawa, who co-owned Infinity Concrete Pumping in Hilo for more than a decade.

The suit seeks monetary damages, a judgment that Kagawa’s rights were violated and an injunction ordering HPD “to prohibit further excessive force and civil rights violations on its citizens.”

“Mr. Kagawa simply wants … the police department to take some sort of accountability for it and to clean up their act,” Rosenbaum told the Tribune-Herald on Wednesday.

According to the suit, Kagawa hired Llewellyn Kaui in 2018 as a laborer and concrete pump operator. Over a period of about three years, the suit alleges Kaui threatened to kill Kagawa and his family, sent threatening text messages to Kagawa, choked a co-worker, pulled a gun and shot a bird while on “a side job,” and drove a company truck so erratically co-workers thought he might run them over.

The truck was damaged, according to the complaint, and a fuel credit card was stolen from the truck with an unauthorized charge of $6,177.82.

The suit claims Kagawa called HPD on July 14, 2021, to report the truck intentionally damaged and the fuel card stolen and used by Kaui, but was told he didn’t have enough information to file a police report.

A week later, Kaui showed up at Kagawa’s house, blocked Kagawa’s driveway with his car, and walked toward the house while stripping down to his underwear as Kagawa, who was home alone, repeatedly yelled at Kaui to leave, the suit alleges.

At that point, police arrived without Kagawa having called them, according to the complaint.

The suit claims Dalere approached Kagawa and pointed an assault rifle at him. When Kagawa identified himself as the homeowner, he was handcuffed by Dalere, the suit alleges. Kagawa’s house was then searched, and officers confiscated his firearms, all lawfully registered, according to the suit.

The suit also claims that a letter mailed Dec. 2, 2022, by Rosenbaum to Acting HPD Chief Kenneth Bugado Jr. requesting assistance in filing a stolen firearms report was received on Dec. 5 but hadn’t been replied to when the suit was filed.

According to Rosenbaum, Kagawa “uprooted his entire family and moved to the mainland” out of fear.

Rosenbaum said the amount of monetary damages his client will seek is “very hard to say.”

Read the full article here

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