- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - The Honolulu Police Commission will wait to see if the FBI investigates before looking into allegations of police misconduct raised in a trial involving a mailbox stolen from Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s home.

The trial ended in a mistrial about two weeks ago after Kealoha testified about the criminal past of his wife’s uncle, Gerard Puana, who was accused of stealing the mailbox. Prosecutors later moved to dismiss the charges.

In his opening statement for the trial, Puana’s public defender, Alexander Silvert, said the Kealohas set up his client to discredit him in a family financial feud. Silvert said the trial would expose wrongdoing by police, including falsified reports and off-the-books surveillance.

“As of now, we have no evidence to show the department acted improperly investigating the chief’s case,” Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa said Wednesday. “Aside from the allegations that are made by the defense attorney, we have no other evidence to suggest that there was wrongdoing.”

The FBI has said it received a request to investigate how police handled the case, but “the FBI never confirms or denies the existence of any investigation unless or until charges are filed,” spokesman Tom Simon said.

If the FBI does launch an investigation, the commission will defer to the agency, Taketa said.

Kealoha declined to make any comments during Wednesday’s police commission meeting. The commission then met with Kealoha during a closed-door executive session.

After the meeting, Taketa said he doesn’t believe Kealoha intentionally caused a mistrial, as Silvert alleges. Kealoha’s comments that led to a mistrial were an “inadvertent mistake,” Taketa said.

The police union is standing behind the chief, the organization’s president, Tenari Maafala, told the commission.

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at https://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .


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