Reason #739 that the Mainland U.S. is Lame and Maui is No Ka Oi: we make otherwise clear reporting on police misconduct into a fun game for all ages (well, except for babies who can’t read and people who always vote for Ralph Nader–they’re never any fun). Normally we only get to play a couple times a year, but lately it seems that we’ve been playing once a week.
Our latest chance came this weekend with a rare double-header. First up was the Oct. 2 Maui News story “Police department internal investigations lead to 5 suspensions.” Now on the Mainland, a story like this would probably include little details like the names of police officers who were busted for wrong-doing and maybe some clues here and there about the exact nature of their transgressions. But not here! On Maui, that would be too easy–it’s all about making people guess about the cops sworn to serve and protect.
“An officer was suspended for three days after a motor vehicle collision in August 2014,” reported The Maui News (which also plays the game by not running a byline on stories like these, forcing the reader to try to figure out which staffer might have written it). “The officer responded in an unauthorized emergency mode, failed to yield and caused a collision with another vehicle, police said. Another three-day suspension was ordered for an officer who failed to properly complete numerous reports on time in March 2014. A two-day suspension was ordered for an officer who failed to properly evaluate a subordinate and slept on duty in September 2014.”
Unauthorized emergency mode! Failure to complete reports! Sleeping duty! Man, the Maui Police Department sounds like a great place to work. And which still-active Maui Police Officers did all these things is a big mystery that we, the taxpaying public, gets to figure out because, as The Maui News always says, “The names of the officers were not made public.”
But I digress. See, unlike every other government agency in the State of Hawaii, police departments are exempt from having to tell the public the names of employees busted for misconduct. Where’s the fun in that?
And even when a Maui Police Officer actually commits a crime–making the misconduct a true matter of public record–the MPD still wants to make it a game. Like they did with their Oct. 2 press release.
On 10/01/15, at approximately 6:38 p.m., Anthony Maldonado (26) of Makawao was placed under arrest for the offense of Theft in the Second Degree. Maldonado has been a sworn police officer with the Maui Police Department with just under five years of service. He was released pending further investigation. In addition, an Administrative Investigation was initiated and the he was placed on leave.
Now that’s it–the whole press release (minus the smiling mug of his booking photo, of course). If you’re like, I don’t know, a normal person, then you probably read that and said something like, “damn, that’s messed up. What did he [allegedly] steal?”
Who knows? Who cares? I asked the MPD that very question, and they haven’t said yet. I hope they don’t, because then it will ruin the game. See, we have to guess what he took, and that’s fun! Well, it’s more fun than thinking about the Maui cops who’ve been given guns and badges that authorize them to use those guns on us who then turn around and do things like allegedly drive while drunk (Officer Rachel Garvin), flash pedestrians (Officer John Salomon) and steal things (Officer Anthony Maldonado).
Anthony Maldonado booking photo: Maui Police Department