Maui police officer says he was questioned about surveillance video of former police chief hitting motorcycle at mall.
Written by: LILA FUJIMOTO
From: The Maui News
WAILUKU — A lawsuit alleges a former Maui Police Department officer was “kidnapped and interrogated” by two police officers investigating the release of a surveillance video showing then-Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu backing his truck into a parked motorcycle, then driving away two years ago.
The complaint was filed Nov. 4 in 2nd Circuit Court on behalf of Manuel Sorcy, now a Hawaii Police Department officer.
He and a rookie officer responded to investigate a report of a motor vehicle collision Nov. 7, 2020, in a parking structure at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. After a supervisor was informed that Faaumu was possibly involved, the officers were told to document a civil motor vehicle accident but not to initiate a case for “duty upon striking unattended vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Later, a copy of the mall security surveillance video was posted online and aired in television news reports.
In addition to Faaumu and MPD, the complaint names a police officer and a police sergeant as defendants.
Asked if MPD wanted to comment, spokeswoman Alana Pico said by email Tuesday “the department will not be issuing a statement.”
The officer and sergeant did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Faaumu said he didn’t realize he had hit the motorcycle until he was called by a police lieutenant.
Reached by telephone this week, Faaumu recalled that the Criminal Intelligence Unit officers were assigned to investigate an anonymous letter he received Nov. 16, 2020, that said a copy of the surveillance video would be sent to media. The letter also said that if he didn’t retire by the end of the year, a letter would be sent to the Maui County Council, Police Commission, mayor, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and media outlets calling for an investigation into Faaumu’s behavior toward employees.
Once the officers were assigned to investigate the letter, “I do not direct the investigation,” Faaumu said.
Later, he said he was told what the officers discovered.
Honolulu attorney Joseph Rosenbaum of Fujiwara and Rosenbaum, LLLC filed the complaint, which seeks unspecified special, compensatory and punitive damages.
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