Lum petitions to exclude Gonsalves

Kaua’i Police Chief K.C. Lum seeks to exclude police commissioner Leon Gonsalves from further commission action involving the chief until his federal discrimination lawsuit is resolved.

In order to exclude Gonsalves, Lum pointed out Wednesday that he will be petitioning the police commission for a public hearing to see if there is an immediate necessity to adopt a new rule to keep the integrity of the police commission intact.

Lum’s petition is included in the police commission’s agenda for Friday. The five-member police commission hires and fires the police chief.

Commission Chairwoman Carol Furtado could not be reached for comment.

In his petition, Lum wrote that any action by Gonsalves will be perceived by the public as racially motivated, and that citizens should not endure any perception of racial discrimination within their county government.

The petition comes after Lum filed his federal civil rights lawsuit Feb. 6, accusing Gonsalves of racial discrimination for sending an e-mail through the county’s e-mail system in October 2004. In that e-mail, Gonsalves made a derogatory remark about Lum and his country of origin.

In November 2004, Mayor Bryan Baptiste sent a letter to the County Council, calling for Gonsalves to resign from the police commission because of the derogatory e-mail. Gonsalves stayed in place after the County Council voted not to remove him in May 2005.

In April 2005, Lum had filed a discrimination complaint with the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission based on race, national origin, and reprisal discrimination. In the same month, Lum referred members of the County Council to a September 2003 press release issued by the Civil Rights Commission relating to a ruling by the Hawai’i state Supreme Court.

In that press release, the court ruled that the University of Hawai’i was liable for “failure to take immediate and appropriate corrective action for the racial slurs” made by a student manager to a basketball fan. The university was levied a $30,000 fine.

Lum pointed out that, on Feb. 2, this year, the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission issued him a letter, giving him the right to sue the county, and that led to the federal civil rights lawsuit.

The commission members will go through six steps to decide whether or not to remove Lum as police chief. The first step involves getting an attorney’s opinion on the ability of each commissioner to participate in the removal process.

The petition is on the police commission’s 1:30 p.m. agenda. The commission will meet in the historic County Building council chambers.

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