Busted! HPD Officers Feel Weight of the Law … Kinda

Just read today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser and was intrigued by what I saw on the Local front.

First, one officer who pleaded guilty in federal court last week for being part of a marijuana growing operation was fired by the Honolulu Police Department. Seems appropriate considering the officer, Michael Steven Chu, could be sent to prison for up to five years after he’s sentenced.

(You can read the Star-Advertiser’s story here. You’ll need a subscription. You can also read my blog about the guilty plea here.)

But it’s the second story that really caught my attention. Four officers who falsified DUI police reports for the chance to get overtime pay for court appearances were also disciplined. Well, sort of.

(Read the story here. Again, subscription required.)

According to the newspaper, the four officers — Duke Zoller, Aaron A. Bernal, Christopher Bugarin and Patrick Bugarin (yep, brothers) — all “pleaded no contest in a deal with the prosecutor.”

They were also all granted deferrals, meaning that if they stay out of trouble for the next three to six months the criminal charges are expunged from their records.

We shouldn’t forget about the fines, though. Zoller and Bernal, both sergeants in HPD, were fined $800, the newspaper reports. The Bugarin brothers were each fined $500.

And here’s the kicker, because of these guys’ actions that aimed to put more money in their pockets, the prosecutors office told the newspaper it had to dismiss more than 200 DUI cases.

Makes you wonder why the Honolulu Prosecutors Office would even allow such a deal to go down in the first place. Also makes you wonder what Mayor Peter Carlisle thinks. He was Honolulu’s top prosecutor for 14 years.

Nick Grube

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