Hawaii Police Union Loses Legal Battle Against Police Misconduct Disclosure

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) lost months-long legal battle against Act 47, the law that requires disclosure of officer misconduct.

According to Civil Beat, Circuit Court Judge Dean Ochiai ruled that Act 47 is “constitutional and appropriate even in cases in which appeals to the discipline are ongoing.”

For decades, Hawaii used to not disclose officer misconduct to the public except in “rare cases in which an officer was terminated.”

With large protests last year against racial inequality and police brutality, Act 47 was passed and overturned Hawaii’s past procedures in handling officer misconduct.

SHOPO argues that Act 47 violates the officers’ privacy.

The police union’s attorney Keani Alapa even asked if the public has the right to know the names of the officers who are already retired, had been disciplined long time ago, or had their misconduct offense overturned.

Deputy Attorney General Robyn Chun said that there is “a need in transparency and accountability in the process of handling incidents of police misconduct to rebuild the public’s trust in the police departments.”

In the Civil Beat article, Attorneys for Honolulu and the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office stated that Act 47 is essential for citizens to hold police officers accountable.

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