- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - The police chief in Honolulu said his performance hasn’t been compromised by a family dispute aired in a criminal trial that included allegations of misconduct in the police department.

Police Chief Louis Kealoha defended his leadership after four state senators on Wednesday recommended in a letter to the Honolulu Police Commission that co-chiefs help Kealoha run the police force.

The department is facing scrutiny after a federal case ended in a mistrial when a judge determined Kealoha gave improper testimony about his wife’s uncle, who was accused of stealing their home mailbox.

The brief trial raised allegations of misconduct in the arrest of Gerard Puana, the uncle of Katherine Kealoha. Puana’s public defender, Alexander Silvert, said the Kealohas framed his client to discredit him in a lawsuit filed by Puana and his 95-year-old mother accusing Katherine Kealoha of taking money from them. She denies their allegations.

The letter, distributed to the media by state Sen. Will Espero, chairman of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee, said: “One can easily also conclude that there is a certain amount of stress, anxiety and pressure on the chief as these cases move forward in the courts.”

The letter, also signed by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Breene Harimoto and Russell Ruderman, notes that the chief’s comments that caused the mistrial and other issues in the criminal case “indicate to us some questionable decision-making.”

The chief told reporters after Wednesday’s commission meeting that he doesn’t need any help. “My performance has not waxed or waned in light of this personal challenge,” he said.

The commission was expected to draft a response to the letter.

“I don’t think any of this distraction has affected the chief’s performance at all,” Chairman Ron Taketa told reporters.

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