KEY POINTS

  • The dispute happened between the teenage boy and police officer's son
  • The lawsuit stated the officer abused his power by arresting the boy
  • The boy's attorney said the police department and city don't want to admit liability

The Honolulu City Council has announced a settlement of $150,000 in a lawsuit filed against a police officer for wrongfully arresting a teenage boy who had an altercation with the former's son. 

The announcement was made Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii along with attorney Eric Seitz, who represented the family.

The federal lawsuit from the teenage boy’s family claimed officer Kirk Uemura arrested the then 15-year-old because he and the officer’s son had gotten into a dispute after school in 2018, Associated Press (AP) reported.

The lawsuit stated Uemura’s motives behind the arrest were only driven by his desire for personal vengeance, which is an abuse of his power as a police officer.

Uemura allegedly hasn’t responded to attempts by media outlets to reach him following the lawsuit. 

The Honolulu Department of Corporation Counsel said in a statement the settlement was a reasonable solution to the situation, while the city mentioned its “position, in this case, was that HPD’s [Honolulu Police Department] current policies and standards of conduct were sufficient in providing direction to officers and addressing conflicts of interest in this particular situation,” AP reported. 

The HPD had launched an investigation into the matter, but the process hasn’t been completed, the statement added.

Michelle Yu, a spokeswoman with the police, had said, following the lawsuit's filing in October 2020, Uemura and his supervisor faced appropriate discipline, but hadn't provided any further details on what the disciplinary measures were, Honolulu Civil Beat reported.

However, according to a statement made by Yu to AP Tuesday, disciplinary action is still pending and Uemura is still on full duty.

In a news release, Seitz said none of the officers nor the city wanted to admit liability. While they were going through negotiations, the family’s attorneys tried to inquire about the disciplinary measures taken against the officers responsible. However, the city refused to reveal any information, Seitz said in the news release.

The only evidence they have of Uemura getting any disciplinary action taken against him was a 2020 legislative disciplinary report that mentioned the officer being suspended for a single day, AP reported.

Police tape Representational image of a police officer Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar