Council Committee Challenges City Funding of Kealoha's Defense

May 30, 2019

File -- Retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu deputy prosecuting attorney.
Credit Cory Lum / Civil Beat

A Honolulu City Council committee voted Thursday to challenge city funding of attorney fees for former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

The committee adopted a resolution that would direct the city’s top civil attorney to appeal a previous decision by the Honolulu Police Commission to pay a portion of Kealoha’s attorney fees.

Kealoha is currently on trial after federal investigators say he and his wife, Katherine Kealoha, committed financial fraud and used police resources to frame their relative for theft of the couple’s mailbox.

The Kealohas have denied the charges.

Loretta Sheehan, head of the Police Commission, has said the city is obligated under state law to pay for actions taken by a police officer in performance of his or her duty, even if the action is illegal, negligent or wrong.

Councilman Ikaika Anderson disagrees.  

“When a Honolulu police officer decides to knowingly file a false police report and also decides to participate in falsely framing someone for a crime…those actions obviously fall outside the scope of a police officer acting within their official duties," says Anderson.

The resolution will now move to the full Council for a vote.

Updated: May 30, 7:46 p.m.