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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Group tracking police abuse

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — The shooting of a Kona woman this month by her police officer husband has revived interest in a citizens watchdog group concerned about police and domestic violence.

Frequent police department critic Del Pranke said the Citizens for Justice group met a day or two after the Jan. 4 killing of Cathalene Ann Pacheco, and will meet again at the Ocean View Community Center in Ka'u at noon Feb. 16.

The loosely organized group was established after the 1992 death of Yvonne Mathison, wife of Hilo patrol Sgt. Kenneth Mathison, who was convicted of her murder three years later and is serving a life sentence. The Big Island Police Department was accused of covering up the case before it was finally taken to trial.

Pranke said the Pacheco shooting prompted him and others to resume the task of monitoring police handling of such cases and to bring to light police misconduct. At a county Police Commission meeting last Friday, he presented a list of recent cases involving officers accused of domestic abuse.

Other members of the group include Bryant Neal of Ahualoa in Hamakua and Chuck Hanson of Mountain View. Neal, a former airline captain, said he believes Pranke is doing an important job focusing public interest on police.

Police Chief Jimmy Correa had a different view.

"This is a lot of rubbish in my opinion," he said.

Correa said much of Pranke's complaints are a rehash of old issues.

Reach Hugh Clark at (808) 935-3916 or at hclark@honoluluadvertiser.com.