Back in October, when stories of Maui Police officers getting arrested for all manner of alleged crimes seemed to pop up in the news on a nearly weekly basis, we called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to just take a can-opener to the department.
“If there was ever a time for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to start looking into the Maui PD, it’s now,” we said in an Oct. 22, 2015 story titled “Maui Confidential.” At the time of that story, the MPD had just arrested (or re-arrested) two of their own for alleged theft and bribing a witness: Officers Chase Keliipaakaua and Anthony Maldonado (a few other officers were arrested in separate cases, mostly dealing with alleged drunk driving).
Chief Tivoli Faaumu had also taken the unprecedented step of releasing a public video statement in an attempt to reassure the public that his department would hold any officer “accountable, both criminally and internally.” While a nice gesture, it struck us as too little, too late, and we wanted far stronger action.
“It’s time to call in the FBI and get an outside, unbiased look at what’s going on inside the Maui Police Department,” we wrote. “At this point, that’s the only way we can hold the MPD accountable.”
According to Hawaii News Now, it would seem that the FBI agreed with us.
“The FBI has taken over a theft and bribery case involving multiple Maui police officers, Hawaii News Now has learned,” the news station reported yesterday. “University of Hawaii Law Professor Ken Lawson says the FBI coming in will eliminate any concerns about a conflict of interest. ‘You don’t want local police investigating local police,’ says Lawson, who believes the FBI are looking at a number of possible charges. ‘It could be for civil rights violations.'”
The Hawaii News Now story also states that “sources” allege a third Maui Police officer is “connected to the case,” but provide no names other than the two officers cited above.
Click here to read the Hawaii News Now story.
FBI Seal: Wikipedia