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Honolulu police have forwarded the findings of a misdemeanor extortion investigation to the state Department of the Attorney General, which will decide whether to charge the president and vice president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.
HPD’s Professional Standard’s Office opened a misdemeanor extortion case in June in connection with allegations outlined in a civil suit filed by an ousted union official who says he was falsely accused of double-dipping into travel funds and blackmailed with the threat of a theft complaint.
SHOPO President and HPD Lt. Robert Cavaco, and Vice President and HPD Sgt. Stephen Keogh are fighting the allegations against them and maintain their innocence and commitment to helping all of SHOPO’s members.
“The charges are totally without merit and those who triggered these false accusations will be held accountable,” said Paul Alston, the pair’s attorney.
Honolulu Police Chief Arthur J. Logan told the Star-Advertiser on Wednesday that the investigation concluded and was shared with the attorney general.
“This case has been turned over to the AG’s office, which will determine the next course of action. Persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The officers remain on restricted duty pending the outcome of the investigation,” said Logan in a statement.
A person commits the offense of third-degree extortion if the person commits extortion of property, labor or services, according to the Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
Restriction of police authority is an order by the chief of police to an officer to cease the use of any police authority until further notice, according to HPD. The order might require the officer to turn in certain police equipment, including department-issued firearms and ammunition.
The civil lawsuit outlining the allegations that led to the criminal investigation was filed May 31 by HPD Sgt. David Leonard “Kawika” Hallums. Hallums, a former SHOPO vice president, alleges the other members of the union’s executive board conspired to remove him by falsely accusing him of double-dipping into travel funds from the union and HPD, and blackmailing him with the threat of criminal charges.
Hallums maintained that SHOPO’s previous president approved the travel and no violations of SHOPO’s code of conduct occurred.
HPD’s Professional Standards Office received a copy of the civil complaint the day it was filed and began scheduling interviews with parties named in the case.
Keogh allegedly threatened Hallums with criminal prosecution unless he signed a “voluntary” resignation letter from his position of vice president of SHOPO, according to the civil complaint.
“The matter is under review and we are unable to provide further comment at this time,” said Gary H. Yamashiroya, special assistant to the state attorney general.