LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck acknowledged and apologized for instances in which he made disparaging comments, violating county discrimination policies.
“In hindsight, I recognize regardless of my intent, my words have caused people pain,” Raybuck said in a video statement released on social media. “I look forward to the opportunity to apologize directly to those who have been hurt by my words and I hope that we may repair our relationships moving forward.”
Last week, a Police Commission-led investigation sustained an internal complaint that Raybuck had made disparaging comments of Japanese culture and mocked Asian stereotypes through squinting, bowing and speaking in an accent, violating county bias and discrimination policies.
“I recognize now and accept that my comments were insensitive and improper as the chief of police,” Raybuck said.
Raybuck said he respects the findings of the Police Commission investigation and will accept any disciplinary action.
“I understand that some of you are disappointed in hearing about the findings of the investigation. I’m disappointed, too,” Raybuck said. “I’m disappointed that my actions brought undeserved scrutiny on my police department. I’m disappointed that as a county leader I’ve not been the best example for my employees to follow, and I am disappointed that my family has had to witness and endure the fallout of my mistakes.”
Raybuck, hired in 2019, states that he has sought guidance and professional assistance in the last few months “to respond better to difficult situations, and I’m committed the work that I’ve begun to improve myself and my relationships with others.”
“I’ve made my mistakes, but I’ve always looked to learn from them and done my best to get better and not repeat them,” Raybuck said.
After media reports, Mayor Derek Kawakami issued a statement encouraging the community “to not let this be the focus of our police department.”
“These allegations do not reflect the Chief Raybuck that I know and work closely with,” Kawakami said. “If found to be true, I feel a deep obligation to forgive, and this will not impact my ability to work together with him moving forward to serve the people of Kaua‘i.”
The State of Hawai‘i Organization of Police Officers, on the other hand, called for Raybuck’s resignation.
“These charges and findings involving blatant racism is appalling and will not be tolerated by SHOPO and our rank-and-file officers,” the SHOPO statement reads. “Assuming the reported findings are true and accurate, we find it shocking that a top law-enforcement leader would bring such racist sentiments into our community.”
Raybuck hopes this situation will “allow me to become a better person, a better father, and a better leader.”
“I know that I have a hard road ahead of me to earn back the trust and faith people placed in me,” Raybuck said. “I have so much love for this island and all of its people. I believe in the hardworking men and women in this police department and the bright days that lay ahead. I will work hard to rebuild damaged relationships and restore the community’s trust in me.”