FBI help sought in police corruption probe
LIHU'E, Kaua'i Kaua'i Mayor Bryan Baptiste says he will ask the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI to investigate allegations of corruption in the Kaua'i Police Department.
"We have a duty to seek the truth for our citizens, and we take these allegations seriously," Baptiste said in a statement Saturday.
But the Police Department has "fine men and women" who are dedicated professionals, he said.
Baptiste acted in response to a federal court lawsuit filed Tuesday by police officer Mark Begley against the county, Police Chief George Freitas, a police lieutenant and a man who is not a police officer.
Begley said the lieutenant and other officers are members of a criminal organization involved in drug trafficking. He accused Freitas of failing to investigate the situation.
The lawsuit says the lieutenant is a member of a criminal organization that includes both officers and civilians. Members of the organization seize narcotics from drug dealers but do not make arrests or turn the drugs in as evidence in criminal cases, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says that in one incident, an officer twice went to Kapa'a High School and was given narcotics taken from students by school administrators, but no police reports ever were filed by the officer and the drugs never were turned in as evidence.
Begley also said the lieutenant assaulted him, hitting him on the head so hard that he had to be flown to an O'ahu hospital for treatment and that the resulting brain damage has left him disabled.
The lawsuit also says a woman drug informant complained that drugs she obtained in "controlled buys" were kept by the lieutenant and that arrests were never made.
It also claims the same woman was raped by a relative of the lieutenant who told her the rape was a warning to keep her mouth shut about the lieutenant's activities.