Curnan case dismissed, but is not over

A Kaua’i Police Department officer’s claims of being beaten up in 2002 for suspecting another officer of criminal activities were dismissed recently.

Mark Begley claimed in a federal civil suit that he was assaulted because he alleged that now-retired KPD officer Martin Curnan was involved with organized crime. Begley claimed that the attack was intended to dissuade him from looking into those alleged activities.

Federal Magistrate Kevin S.C. Chang dismissed Begley’s claims against Curnan after a bench trial was held last month.

“I had my day in court. It has been almost four years, and the charges were all bogus. From day one they were bogus,” said Curnan.

Curnan was with the police department for nearly 28 years, and retired as a vice unit commander about two years ago.

Curnan’s attorney, Michael Mc-Guigan, pointed out that he was pleased with Chang’s decision. “It’s been a very long, arduous process,” said McGuigan.

The case was appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court.

“The bench trial was conducted only to bring the case to a point where we could receive a final order and take the whole case to the 9th Circuit, to seek a reversal and a new trial,” said Begley’s attorney, Mark Zenger.

Begley also named the county, KPD and former KPD Chief George Freitas as defendants in the suit. Last year, all three were dismissed from the case.

Begley’s allegations sparked Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste to ask for an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Begley contended that Freitas did not investigate his claims about Curnan when Curnan headed the police department’s vice division.

The case stems from an assault that took place May 17, 2002.

According to court records, Begley, Curnan and an acquaintance of Curnan’s, David Nawai, had been drinking before the incident took place. An argument came up between Begley and Nawai. The argument heated up to the point where Begley swung at Nawai, according to court records. In response, Nawai hit Begley in the jaw.

According to court records, Begley fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement. Nawai was able to grab Begley’s shirt, but was unable to keep Begley from falling backwards, court records indicate.

Curnan and Nawai helped Begley up, and put him into his truck. While doing so, Begley’s head accidentally hit the door frame, according to court records.

Court records show that Curnan drove Begley home in Begley’s truck, and that his wife watched him for three days before taking him to a hospital. She took him to a hospital only after being told to do so by her husband’s superior officer, according to court records.

Court records show that Curnan and Nawai did not know the extent of Begley’s injuries, and that a neurosurgeon said that Begley had symptoms of brain damage.

According to court records, Begley has suffered memory loss since the incident, and has been unable to recall many of the details of what happened.

Since the incident, Begley has been on light duty at KPD, has periodic headaches, and has a constant ringing in his left ear, according to court records.

Court records show that Nawai acted in self-defense, and that he is not liable for assault and battery.

Court records show that Begley sought general damages of $100,000 each from Curnan and Nawai.


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