Kaua’i Police Department officer Darla Abbatiello claims that KPD Chief K.C. Lum backdated a proposed strip-search policy to cover up her complaint about being made to photograph female arrestees.
“At the time of the incident, she was ordered to photograph two stripped females who were arrested. The present policy at that time prohibited such photographing,” said John Hoshibata, Abatiello’s attorney.
Abbatiello made that claim in her amended federal lawsuit complaint, wherein she alleges she was retaliated against by Lum and others in the police department and the county under the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
Lum said on Tuesday that the policy is still a draft. He pointed out that the date of the draft has no significance until he signs off on it.
The chief said that it is merely a proposed policy.
“It is not in effect. Currently, it is still in the county attorney’s office,” said Lum, adding that he has not heard anything one way or another from lawyers in the Office of the County Attorney.
Calls made to County Attorney Lani Nakazawa were not immediately returned.
In the amended complaint that was filed Friday, Abbatiello alleges that Lum came up with a proposed policy, and backdated it to cover a written complaint she made about a strip search she was ordered to do in April 2005.
She alleged that the strip search was illegal because she was to take pictures of two naked female suspects, and that taking pictures was unnecessary, humiliating, degrading, and against the law.
She alleged that she reported the strip-search incident to Lum the next month.
She alleged that Lum submitted the backdated policy to members of the Kaua’i County Council for review and approval. She also claimed that the councilmembers refused to sign off on and approve Lum’s policy.
Abbatiello also claimed that she received death threats while in the department’s vice unit, and that she was run out of the unit.
The case is set for a jury trial in May 2007.
- Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or firstname.lastname@example.org.