It details – at least to me – that an institution that’s based on coercion can’t be “fixed”. The same inherent flaws will always exist. For more on that, check out:
- Ignorance of the law is legally an excuse for police officers
- Want to End Police Brutality? Focus on the Institution
Honolulu Police Department
- .808.723-8800 (Pearl City Station, where Russell Won works from)
- 801 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
In the Name of the Law: What the Public Isn’t Being Told About Police Misconduct
by Nick Grube and Patti Epler
A year later, he was back in Honolulu — and back in police work. The federal prison sentence didn’t cause the Honolulu Police Department to fire him. Instead, he was put on leave without pay while he did his time.
When his sentence was over he was assigned to train new recruits at the academy. He kept his gun and badge and went on to become a detective with a long career at HPD.
Won was one of three officers indicted and convicted at the same time for mistreating prisoners in their custody at the Pearl City station. In a plea bargain, Won eventually was convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to a year in federal prison.
Sgt. Clyde Hayami went to prison for nearly five years for brutally beating three inmates on three separate occasions. In one of those incidents, Hayami, with the help of Won, clubbed an inmate over the head with a blackjack, sending him to intensive care.
Hayami was allowed to resign as a part of his plea deal, promising never to work in law enforcement again.
Officer Keith Flynn was also convicted in the incident involving Hayami and Won. Remaining on the police department, he served six months, dividing his time between a halfway house and his home. He was suspended but not discharged and reassigned to the Traffic Division’s Junior Police Officer program.
The case of the three officers made headlines in 1996, partly because it came on the heels of much-publicized community debate over police disciplinary records. A year earlier, the Hawaii Legislature had sided with the state’s powerful police union and barred police misconduct records from public disclosure.
It was a political battle of the highest order, fought in the courts, in the legislative hearing rooms, on the editorial pages and ultimately decided in the governor’s office. Then-Gov. Ben Cayetano allowed the exemption, which had not been granted for any other class of public employee, to go into law without his signature.
At the sentencing for Hayami and Flynn, U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra gave voice to the reality of what the Legislature and Cayetano had done.
Ezra believed that public knowledge of disciplinary problems was important to prevent abuse of power by police officers, according to an Aug. 6, 1996 report of the sentencing in the Honolulu Advertiser. By HPD keeping their actions secret, he said, it “creates a feeling of invincibility.”