A Navy officer had to turn in his firearms to HPD for lesser concerns.
A Honolulu police sergeant remains on duty with a firearm even though he says in a lawsuit against the police union that he suffers from a litany of mental health issues.
As recently as March 22, David “Kawika” Hallums, said in a legal complaint that he has experienced “severe emotional distress, mental trauma,” “extreme mental anguish, outrage” and “a severe mental illness that is manifesting itself in (his) daily severe stress levels, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate and depression.”
Reached by phone, Hallums said that he is on full duty but referred further questions to his lawyer, Bosko Petricevic, who did not respond to a request for comment.
HPD spokesperson Michelle Yu confirmed Hallums’ active duty status.
Hawaii law bars people “diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder” from possessing a firearm without medical documentation that the disorder no longer adversely affects them.
It is unclear whether Hallums was medically diagnosed with the issues described in the lawsuit.
Eric Seitz, a Honolulu lawyer who has sued police involved in a number of high-profile misconduct cases, says Hallums’ case creates significant risk for the City and County of Honolulu.
“If he were to get involved in a situation where someone were to get hurt, it would create enormous liabilities for the City & County,” Seitz said.
“That’s really a very dangerous situation. If he’s claiming to have that degree of impairment then it certainly should reflect on whether or not he’s out carrying a gun conducting police activities,” he said. “At a minimum they ought to have him evaluated.”
HPD did not respond to additional questions about Hallums and whether he underwent a psychological evaluation after claiming he suffered from mental illness.
HPD has a system for helping distressed officers, according to Chief Joe Logan.
“We have an early recognition program where supervisors see an individual that may be struggling and advise them into seeking mental health assistance,” Logan said in an interview with Civil Beat in February.
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‘Depressed And Homesick’
In 2021, HPD asked a Navy officer to turn in his firearms after he indicated, in the process of registering them, that he received medical care for feeling “depressed and homesick.” He had owned his guns legally before moving to Hawaii.
Nevertheless, HPD notified the man, a Navy cryptologic warfare officer trained to use firearms, that the department had found he “may have received or (is) currently receiving treatment or counseling” and requested that he hand over his guns until he could provide written documentation from a doctor that he is “no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect.”
The officer, Michael Santucci, sued the City and County of Honolulu in April 2022, and in November, a federal judge ruled that he cannot be denied a firearms permit for having sought counseling for feeling depressed and homesick.
Hallums first filed his lawsuit in May 2022 against the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and a number of its officials alleging that they forced him from his position as the union’s vice president after he threatened to blow the whistle on illicit activity. SHOPO President Robert Cavaco and Vice President Stephen Keogh remain on restrictive duty while the lawsuit proceeds.
A recent amended complaint reiterated the mental health issues Hallums says are the result of the SHOPO officials’ actions.
SHOPO has moved to dismiss the case, saying Hallums “wrongfully double-dipped” when he received special assignment leave compensation from HPD and money from SHOPO.
The union declined to comment further for this story.