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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, September 6, 2001

Whistleblower questions lag in cellblock food inquiry

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

The retired Honolulu police major who requested a probe that led to last month's indictment of two high-ranking officers for felony theft yesterday asked the Police Commission to determine why Honolulu Police Department administrators took two weeks to act on his complaint.

Gordon Young, who retired in June, said he reported last Oct. 30 that money designated to purchase food for prisoners at HPD's Main Station cellblock was being diverted for other use. He reported his concerns to City Corporation Counsel David Arakawa and was advised to take his complaint to police, Young said.

Young said he met with Deputy Chiefs Michael Carvalho and Robert Au that same day.

"I asked for Capt. Daniel Hanagami be assigned the investigation and both deputy chiefs assured me he would be assigned," Young said. But Hanagami was not assigned the case until two weeks later, two hours before the situation was going to be reported on the 6 p.m. news, Young said.

"I want to know why there was a delay, and the commission said they would find out," Young said, adding that he felt one day would have been a reasonable amount of time to respond to his complaint.

He did not take the complaint to Internal Affairs, Young said, since he felt it would involve high-ranking officers. "We don't do this too often and I wanted to see a complete investigation," he said, referring to Hanagami as an executive officer directing a probe involving "higher ups" as opposed to Internal Affairs detective sergeants doing it.

"I didn't know who was diverting the money," he said. "The investigation determined the suspects. I was reporting something that did not look right."

Assistant Chief Rafael Fajardo Jr. and Maj. Jeffrey Owens were indicted last month on felony theft charges.