- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - A Honolulu police sergeant recorded on restaurant security video appearing to attack his girlfriend is expressing relief that a grand jury has declined to indict him.

Both Sgt. Darren Cachola and girlfriend Deberah Aton have said they were engaging in horseplay - and that she was not assaulted- when they were recorded at the Waipahu restaurant where she works as bar manager.

Cachola’s attorney, Howard Luke, said the officer is “relieved for himself and his family, and also for the alleged victim in this case because he was concerned that all the facts may not have been presented to the grand jury,” the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1v6SQvi ).

“The members of the grand jury did the right thing,” Luke said.

Surveillance video was made public last month from Kuni’s Restaurant and Lounge. The video was widely broadcast and showed Cachola appearing to pummel Aton.

Her attorney, David Hayakawa, said the grand jury heard testimony from Aton and other witnesses who said she had not been injured. The grand jury also saw video that had not been made public.

In one segment, Cachola and Aton are clearly laughing and walking in the restaurant kitchen. She takes off her high heels and she throws the first blow.

Cachola in the video that was made public acts like he’s throwing punches but did not make contact, Hayakawa said.

Aton went to police two days later after the incident and consented to a body scan to demonstrate she had not been hurt, he said. Aton has kick-boxed for 15 years, he said.

“She essentially wanted him to spar with her,” he said.

Luke said prosecutors did their job.

“This case was highly controversial,” he said. “Initial reactions from the first video that was televised were such that the prosecutor’s office felt it was necessary, and justifiably so, . to present this to an independent body from the community to make their own determination as to what the facts were in this case, as well as whether those facts constituted a criminal offense.”

Police declined to press charges in the case.

Neither Luke nor Cachola has been told whether the prosecutor will pursue criminal charges, Luke said. Prosecutors declined comment Wednesday.

Cachola remains on desk duty, a police department spokeswoman said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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