- Associated Press - Friday, August 5, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - A newly confirmed member of the Honolulu Police Commission is calling on the group to investigate allegations of rights violations and other wrongdoing by the city’s embattled police chief, who is the subject of a federal probe.

At her confirmation hearing Wednesday, Loretta Sheehan urged the commission to take immediate action, saying Police Chief Louis Kealoha has lost the public’s trust.

“The police commission right now could be having hearings and deciding whether the chief of police should continue to be our chief of police. And they could remove him right now,” Sheehan said.

A grand jury has been meeting to hear evidence in the federal case against Kealoha for about a year.

The police chief and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha, are accused of using special police units to investigate relatives while they were involved in a family financial dispute.

“I am deeply concerned,” Sheehan said. “It appears (Kealoha) has lost the public’s trust. It appears to me that he has mismanaged episodes of officer conduct in the recent past.”

The Kealohas worry they’re being pilloried, their attorney Myles Breiner has said. They are suing the city’s Ethics Commission and two of its former employees, saying they conducted illegal investigations and leaked confidential files to the FBI that triggered the federal probe.

Their lawsuit says the investigations were “unfounded, vindictive, unsubstantiated and illegal.”

Sheehan said she will discuss her plan with commission Chairman Ron Taketa, who has expressed concern about interfering with the federal investigation.

“When they do come up with a decision either way, then the commission will certainly take appropriate action necessary,” Taketa told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

City officials say the police commission is the only authority that can remove the chief from his position.

Kealoha has declined to step down during the federal investigation, and the commission has held off on taking any action, saying it will wait until any indictments are handed down.

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