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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 16, 2010

Officers' reinstatement upheld


By Lila Fujimoto
Maui News

WAILUKU, Maui Saying there wasn't a legal basis allowing him to vacate an arbitrator's award, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza on Wednesday confirmed the award reinstating two fired Maui Police Department officers.

While not commenting on the award, Cardoza noted that the arbitrator had concluded there was not enough proof that Martell Irish and Derek Kaaukai had beaten an arrested a man who reported being driven to an Upcountry sugar cane field in the early-morning hours of Dec. 19, 2004.

"This court cannot assume the role of someone who can second-guess what's occurred at the arbitration stage," Cardoza said.

The police department fired the two officers Oct. 14, 2005, after then-Police Chief Tom Phillips found there was "just cause" after reviewing criminal and internal investigations.

Joseph Crisafulli said he was beaten by two officers after he was arrested outside the Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli in Makawao. Irish was transporting Crisafulli in a police car to the Wailuku Police Station when Crisafulli said the officer turned off Haleakalā Highway near Keahua Junction.

Crisafulli said the two officers punched and clotheslined him, slammed him into a patrol car and kicked him several times in the side.