Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

Honolulu police struggle to protect victims of domestic violence

There's a real struggle going on to provide protection for the victims of domestic abuse in Honolulu -- especially if the abuser is a member of the police force itself.

In a notable case that keeps making headlines, one officer has been involved in at least three separate incidents of domestic violence. In one case, he was even caught on film assaulting a woman. In another, the officers who responded to the domestic incident at his home are accused of helping to cover the incident up by allegedly convincing the victim to say there had been no assault. Despite being removed once from the force, the officer was able to regain his position through a union appeal -- and has been involved in another reported incident.

That officer isn't the only member of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) involved in domestic violence incidents. At least three other officers have faced recent charges.

At least one administrative official, Honolulu Police Commission Chairwoman Loretta Sheehan, has gone on the record about the HPD's shoddy record when it comes to enforcing domestic violence rules within its own ranks. "It's embarrassing. It begs the bigger question of whether HPD beat officers, the prosecutor's office, judges, probation officers and even the state legislature view violence against a woman as an unfortunate incident or a violation of the basic human right to live safely," she said.

Indeed, American women often face cultural and economic pressure to stay with their abusers. The "privacy" of the family is sacrosanct. Couples are told they should stay together and work out their issues rather than run for safety. When the abuser is a professional with a gun, victims are encouraged to think about what charges will do to the abuser's career -- and how that might affect their children's financial security. In other words, they are encouraged to accept -- or at least hide -- the abuse so that they don't put a source of income for the family at risk.

In reality, it often takes legal assistance for domestic violence victims to escape the cycle of abuse. If you've been victimized, find out more about your rights today.

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