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$150K settlement for teen arrested by classmate’s dad

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council has approved a $150,000 settlement in a lawsuit that accused a police officer of improperly arresting a boy who had a personal dispute with his son.

The family’s federal lawsuit alleged that Officer Kirk Uemura had the teen arrested because the teen and the officer’s son were at odds and had fought after school in 2018.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and attorney Eric Seitz represented the family and announced the settlement Tuesday.

Their lawsuit said Uemura was “motivated solely by a personal vengeance” in abusing his police power.

Uemura couldn’t be reached for comment.

In a statement, the Honolulu Department of Corporation Counsel called the settlement a “reasonable resolution of the litigation” and said that the city’s “position in this case was that HPD’s current policies and standards of conduct were sufficient in providing direction to officers and addressing conflicts of interest in this particular situation.”

The police department investigated but the grievance process hasn’t been completed, the statement said.

After the lawsuit was filed in October, police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said Uemura and his supervisor were disciplined, but she was unable to provide details. On Tuesday, Yu said Uemura is on full duty and that “disciplinary action is pending.”

Seitz said in a news release that neither the officers nor the city admitted liability. During negotiations, attorneys for the family asked the city to reveal disciplinary actions taken against the officers, but the city refused, he said.

A 2020 legislative disciplinary report showed Uemura received a one-day suspension, Seitz said.