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Honolulu agrees to pay $550K to settle 2009 police lawsuit

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council has agreed to pay $550,000 to a retired police lieutenant who claimed that Police Chief Susan Ballard had tampered with recruits’ test scores when she was in charge of the training division.

The council approved the payment Friday to settle the 2009 lawsuit filed by Deeann Koanui, who retired last year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

Koanui had claimed Ballard was involved in tampering with scores on physical and written tests and ordered the destruction of incriminating documents.

Koanui had special training that permitted the department’s programs to be nationally certified. She oversaw physical and other tests of recruits.

Five recruits failed a retest on property crimes in April 2008, according to the lawsuit. These recruits should have been terminated, but Ballard or another officer gave them passing scores, the suit said.

Koanui also claimed she faced retaliation and harassment beginning in September 2008 after she started reporting issues to the department’s internal affairs office.

“Lt. Koanui put her heart and soul into making the department better every day she was on the job and filed this lawsuit to try and further that effort,” said Carl Varady, Koanui’s lawyer.

Ballard did not return the newspaper’s request for comment.

Honolulu Police Commission Chairwoman Loretta Sheehan also did not return a call for comment late Friday.

In a statement, the police department said the suit was “amicably resolved.”

“I think the settlement speaks for itself, and if you look at the time and effort she put into seeing this through to resolution, it’s just a reflection of her commitment to a police force that exemplifies the best values,” Varady said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

3 Comments
  1. Joe Public March 11, 2019 11:37 am Reply

    Another Chief Susan “Kealoha”. Ever notice that the good officers always leave their respective departments as soon as they are eligible and the lazy, bad ones remain for years.


  2. harry oyama March 11, 2019 2:37 pm Reply

    So in other words, the police commission actually knew about this before selecting Susan Ballard as HPD current police chief and should have been invalidated based on that premises. Based on this $550,000 figure and 11 years of retaliation and harassment, that comes out to $50,000 each year, which in my opinion should not be coming from taxpayers, but by those responsible for this crime.

    HPD Susan Ballard, all members of HPD Internal Affairs including those to the Police Commission should be paying this settlement from either/and their monthly pay checks and pensions. Otherwise they should be fired and lose their pensions and other benefits the same way private companies do to their dirty employees who break the law.

    Being a police officer from Hawaii’s “finest” to “Serve and Protect” must be held at a much higher standard since they are part of the public’s trusted organization


  3. LMat March 12, 2019 9:17 am Reply

    “Amicably resolved”…? Is Ballard still the chief of police? Yes. Then how is this considered resolved…?!


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