Mayor Carvalho, County of Kaua'i
Gary Hooser, County of Kaua'i Councilor
Justin Kollar, County of Kaua'i, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
Chief Darryl Perry, Kaua'i Police Department
Michael M. Contrades, Executive Chief of Police
Lt. James Miller, Kaua'i Police Department Internal Affairs
Editor, The Garden Island
September 10, 2015
In July and August 2014, I made a number of reports to Kaua'i police and county authorities about the illegal drug dealing of David Rodgers. He has a long, negative history with local law enforcement. Rodgers and his "best friend," Cain Sergrieff retaliated against me for standing up to his criminal activity. The two contrived a number of false accusations and KPD officers were easily duped by their actions. They used KPD to punish me for standing up to crime in my neighborhood. How easily KPD was deceived!
Respect for Law Enforcement has fallen precipitously in recent years. Due to the rise of social media, many activists work to expose what they believe is the rampant corruption of police and administrations that protect unacceptable behavior. SOURCE 1 Sadly, good cops and conscientious leaders suffer the blunt activism from campaigns such as #FUCKTHEPOLICE. Although I empathize with this emotional frustration, I have furthered positive stories about GOOD cops hoping to balance the rhetoric #RESPECTTHEPOLICE. SOURCE 2 I believe "random acts of violence will only serve to undo what little progress those of us in the peaceful movement have accomplished and in fact will reverse it and prevent any future progress. It is already happening." SOURCE 3
I spent my college days in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho — a community similar to Kaua'i in many ways. My mother worked with poor children, primarily African American, and I developed strong, positive relations with the Black community. SOURCE 4 I was a profesional basketball player in the early 1980s and trained in Los Angeles with greats such as Magic Johnson and other Lakers. I was a NBA rookie with Cleveland in 1984 where I had the opportunity to compete against Michael Jordan to prepare him and the US Olympic team for the LA Olympics. Although I'm a White male, I was welcomed in the Black communities of Inglewood and Compton. Over the course of the decade, I witnessed too many actions of BAD cops against members of the African American community. I enrolled in graduate school in the early 1990s and focused heavily on Criminal Justice. During my PhD program, I worked on policy initiatives, such as Community Policing, and sought to find common ground between police officers and local residents.
I suffered a number of negative interactions with KPD officers in 2014. I had a clean criminal record, never arrested, and as a 56-year-old man, had positive relations with police on Kaua'i, on mainland USA, and in other countries where I lived. I claim KPD officers made a series of mistakes with me. Officers are human. Like me; like all of us, they make mistakes. Due to my professional background in criminal justice, I filed complaints with KPD Internal Affairs to inform superiors about my professional concerns and hopefully correct the uncivil behavior.
Lt. Miller forwarded the department response to me earlier this week. After months of review, Chief Perry concluded in ADM 2014-0398, "Your complaint alleged Officer Clayton Okamoto was unprofessional, overbearing, and mistreated your during your interaction on September 9, 2014 ... After full review of the investigation, I found that there was insufficient evidence to sustain that any act of misconduct occurred relative to your complaint." SOURCE 5
And, my respond to this cover up of Officer Okamoto's irrational and intimidating behavior — #FUCKTHEPOLICE
On the early evening of September 8, 2014, a woman walked by our parked vehicle at crowded Black Pot Beach in Hanalei. My wife saw the woman and noticed she was carrying a newborn baby. While the woman was about 15-20 feet away, my wife and I exchanged pleasantries with her about her newborn.
On the morning of September 9, 2014, KPD Officer Okamoto came to my place of business and spoke to our receptionist before the start of our busy day. Everyone in the room noticed the officer. Officers don't regularly come to our business so it was unusual and a "big deal." Our receptionist said something like, "He is over there and pointed in my direction." The officer approached me and sternly asked me to come outside. He walked me across the road, and in front of the windows in our business area, interrogated me harshly. He stated the woman with whom my wife and I spoke the previous evening alleged I had assaulted her and her newborn baby. The officer stated the woman alleged there was a second witness, yet we learned later that the officer had not spoken with the alleged second witness.
The officer treated me like an animal. He was threatening and accusatory. He warned if I didn't confess and tell him exactly what happened, he would arrest me. I had nothing to confess, as nothing happened between myself and the woman. The officer refused to believe me. He demanded I summon my wife. She was on a morning hike and not available by phone. I had to leave work, go locate my wife, and the two of us spend the next couple hours explaining to the officer that the woman had filed a false complaint. During this time, we learned the officer had not spoken with the alleged "second witnesss." We knew there couldn't be a second witness, because the incident as described by the woman didn't occur. We believe her boyfriend, Cain Sergrieff, and his friend, David Rodgers, concocted the allegation in retalation against me for reporting their illegal drug dealing. My wife and I filed a claim with KPD Internal Affairs over this matter later that same day. Although we filed charges against the three for the false complaint, KPD did nothing to them.
Imagine yourself in such a situation. A police officer claims YOU are guilty. Yet in America, we are innocent until proven guilty. Chief Perry claims there was "insufficient information" to substantiate our complaint.
Therefore, let's focus on CORRECT police procedure. What SHOULD an officer do under these circumstances?
Proper Police Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
1. Officer receives a complaint by an alleged victim.
2. Alleged victim claims there is a second witness.
First, the officer must speak with the second witness, There was no reasonable concern of urgency in this matter, as the alleged incident occurred the evening before. Officer Okamoto failed to do this. This is a violation of police SOP. Here's why:
(1) Had Okamoto spoken with the second witness, and the second witness confirmed the allegation by the complaining victim, Officer Okamoto would have been justified coming to my place of business. And, once he asked me to come outside, his IMMEDIATE action would be to notify me I have been accused of a crime, that he considers me to be a possible suspect, and thus, is obligated to read me my Miranda Rights.
(2) Had Okamoto spoken with the second witness, and the second witness FAILED to confirm the allegation by the complaining victim, Officer Okamoto would then be required to return to the alleged victim and dig deeper. There would be no justifiable reason to come to my place of business and speak with me under these circumstances.
It appears the Kaua'i Police Department needed months of research, multiple interviews and a costly professional review wasting taxpayer dollars to evaluate this matter. I admit I am a competent and experience criminal justice policy researcher and was able to analyze this is less than ONE hour.
Officer Okamoto neglected to follow expected and proper police SOP by failing to speak to the alleged second witness prior to coming to my place of business to question me. Failing this, Officer Okamoto was unprepared to civilly and professionally question me. He took a shortcut. Failing to establish (1) IF there was a second witness, and (2) determine what the alleged second witness saw or didn't see, Officer Okamoto could do nothing but (1) attempt to Intimidate me, (2) Threaten me and (3) Harass me. In fact, Officer Okamoto had NO reasonable and/or legal justification for coming to my place of business to question me at all. And, since he did remove me from my place of business, he was obligated to consider me a suspect and Mirandize me, which he never did.
I realize officers make mistakes. And, like most of us, we are constantly training on our jobs. The error here has been committed by Chief Perry and the department, as they have covered up this incompetence and failure to follow proper police SOP. This appears to be happening across our nation and this is why millions are joining the cry — #FUCKTHEPOLICE.
Failing to review this matter with pono, you have cheated not only the citizens of Kaua'i, but GOOD officers who are now tainted by the incompetence of other officers and the corruption within the Kaua'i Police Department.
Chief Perry, their blood is on your hands.