HONOLULU (AP) - The Honolulu police chief is denying special treatment after a highly specialized crime reduction unit arrested the person accused of stealing the chief’s mailbox.
“I know what it looks like but there’s no preferential treatment,” Chief Louis Kealoha told Hawaii News Now (https://is.gd/469zLQ ).
Gerard Puana, 59, was arrested June 29 and faces federal charges of destroying a mailbox. Puana is the uncle of the chief’s wife, and he is involved in a financial dispute with her.
Six officers with the crime reduction unit were involved in Puana’s arrest.
“I would submit that it’s a little excessive and might amount to an abuse of discretion on his part to assign an entire squad of (crime reduction unit) members,” defense attorney Myles Breiner said.
Kealoha denies he directed staff. Instead, he turned the case over to a deputy chief.
“This is unique in the sense that you could say the chief of police is a high profile public official,” he said. “We’ve expended this kind of resources for legislators, judges, prosecutors. We’ve done it in the past.”
Puana denies he is the man seen in video surveillance arriving at the home, lifting the mailbox off its foundation and placing it in a car.
A December trial is scheduled for Puana.
Information from: KGMB-TV, https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/
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