Secretary claims violation of constitutional rights
Police Chief George Freitas’ former secretary filed a federal suit against him, claiming her wrongful termination was a violation of constitutional rights.
Jacqueline Tokashiki claims that being fired from her duties was a violation of her rights to freedom of speech and due process.
She claims she was fired partly because she testified against him in a hearing called by the Kaua’i County Police Commission, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court this Monday.
She is asking to be reinstated or be appointed to a similar position. In addition, she wants punitive and compensatory damages of no less than $250,000 each, as well as special damages including back pay and benefits.
Tokashiki was first hired in 1980 as an employee exempt from civil service to serve as private secretary to the police chief. According to the suit, she has always received favorable personnel evaluations.
Freitas was suspended from August 2001 to January 2002, while being investigated in connection with complaints filed against him by two now-retired officers, Lt. Alvin Seto and Melvin Morris. Tokashiki handled the filing of the complaints.
Freitas received two reprimands in January 2002 stemming from the reports, which alleged that Freitas raised his voice to them and drove his girlfriend in a police vehicle while not on county business.
In the suit, Tokashiki complains that Freitas referred to a letter to the editor she wrote to “Honolulu Magazine” regarding his suspension and that citing tension in the office, Freitas requested she be removed to a different division the same day he was reinstated, Jan. 7, 2002.
Neither Freitas nor Tokashiki were immediately available for comment.
Laurel Loo, deputy county attorney, said she has not been served with the complaint as of late Tuesday afternoon, and said an initial news report was the only information she had to go on. “It’s really hard to respond to something I haven’t seen yet,” Loo said.
Tokashiki’s suit comes merely two weeks after a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Police Chief George Freitas’ suit against the County of Kaua’i.
Shortly after being suspended in 2001, Freitas filed a lawsuit against then-Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and the County of Kaua’i for violating his right to due process. But since filing it in August, he was reinstated and received full pay and benefits. Freitas, represented by O’ahu attorney Margery Bronster, complained that he was never given time or a venue to confront the allegations for which he was being reprimanded.
Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 252).