LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck will face a five-day unpaid suspension for violating the county’s discrimination codes for comments made mocking those of Asian descent.
The suspension will occur April 26 to 30, and Raybuck will also complete Equal Employment Opportunity and Cultural Sensitivity Training per the county’s Police Commission, according to a KPD statement.
“I value and appreciate diversity in the workplace and within the community,” Raybuck said. “I accept responsibility for my comments and will continue to use this experience to expand my cultural awareness and increase my knowledge and understanding of different cultures.”
A September 2020 complaint to the Police Commission alleged Raybuck had violated civil-service laws and policies against discrimination. This led to separate investigations by the commission and the county’s Department of Human Resources.
The investigations found Raybuck, hired in 2019, guilty of violating discrimination ethics on two occasions, once in November 2019 and once in July 2020.
In the July 2020 incident, Raybuck made broad stereotypes about Japanese culture paired with squinting and bowing. These comments, according to the September 2020 complaint, were said during a meeting in which Raybuck was explaining why an employee of Japanese descent was not chosen for a promotion.
The DHR concluded that there was no evidence to support Raybuck’s failure to promote the employee based upon the employee’s ancestry, race or national origin, and did not violate civil-service laws or rules, according to a KPD statement.
An independent review panel convened to do a separate review of recruitment material for an assistant-chief position, according to a separate document obtained by The Garden Island written by DHR Director Annette Anderson.
In a November 2019 incident, Raybuck met with command staff and told a story about an Asian customer in a fast-food restaurant, making facial gestures and using an accent.
Following reports of the complaint and sustained allegations, the State of Hawai‘i Organization of Police Officers called for Raybuck’s immediate resignation on March 11. Raybuck made an official apology video on social media in mid-March.
“I recognize now and accept that my comments were insensitive and improper as the chief of police,” Raybuck said in that video, in which he also said he respected the findings of the Police Commission investigation and will accept any disciplinary action.
According to the county’s fiscal-year 2021 budget, Raybuck earns $137,022 a year.
“Moving forward, I am even more committed to serving this great community and doing the work necessary to maintain the confidence of the Police Commission and the employees of the Kaua‘i Police Department,” Raybuck said in a statement.
A request for an interview with Raybuck through a KPD spokesperson went unreturned.