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Hawaii police accused of hiding domestic violence by officer

Did the Honolulu police force cover up the domestic abuse committed by one of its own?

That's the allegation of one officer's wife. An agent working for Immigration and Customs (ICE) herself, the woman claims that she was a victim of spousal abuse for years. Even now, after she has relocated to the continental United States with her two children, she says that her ex-husband has continued his harassing and threatening behavior without consequences from his superiors or fellow officers -- despite the fact that she has had restraining orders against him.

Now, the woman is striking back not just at her abusive spouse but at the Honolulu police department as well, naming specific officers she alleges were involved in covering up her ex-husband's actions or purposefully mishandling the response to her requests for assistance. Her attorney alleges that her ex-husband was actually able to enlist other officers in his efforts to intimidate his ex-wife. He says that the Honolulu police generally show favoritism to fellow officers accused of domestic violence.

Allegations that police officers will turn a blind eye to domestic violence by other officers is nothing new. It's something that many abused spouses of other officers from around the country point to as a significant problem for them when they seek help. They say that many of the normal avenues of escape are closed to them because their spouses use their considerable professional connections to undermine their credibility. Victims find other officers disinterested in helping and sometimes feel pressured into keeping quiet about the abuse.

As a member of another law enforcement agency, the woman in this case may have particular insight into the social aspects of her situation. Police officers can end up losing their right to carry a weapon -- and thus, their jobs -- if they're convicted of domestic violence. That can make their co-workers reluctant to push a case along or investigate too closely. Some may feel guilty, feeling that they could be taking a co-worker's career away at the same time that his or her marriage is crumbling.

For victims of domestic abuse, however, the obstacles can be overpowering unless they seek legal help and aggressively pursue their rights to live without the constant threat of violence.

Source: Hawaii News Now, "HPD helped cover up officer's abuse, suit filed by ex-wife says," Chelsea Davis, April 08, 2018

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