HPD chief has no answers for commission on arrest of 10-year-old for offensive drawing

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:23 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Commission sought answers Wednesday from the interim police chief about the highly-publicized arrest of a 10-year-old at her elementary school in Waipahu.

While HNN and other Hawaii media reported the story on Monday night and it made national news, interim HPD Chief Rade Vanic said he was only notified about the case in the past day.

The girl, who is Black, was arrested last January after a drawing she did upset another student’s parent.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii sent a letter to HPD and the Department of Education, saying the girl’s rights were violated because she was interrogated without her mother present.

Her mother, meanwhile, was in another classroom and was denied access to the girl.

In the letter, the ACLU demands the DOE and HPD adopt policies like forbidding staff to call police unless there is an imminent threat of significant harm. The agency also wants the agencies to consult with a school counselor before calling law enforcement ― again if there’s no threat.

And they want to make it mandatory that a parent or guardian to be present when a minor is being questioned.

At the commission meeting, Vanic was asked about the arrest but said he was only notified of the letter in the past day and was trying to discuss it with the city attorneys before making a public statement.

Wookie Kim, legal Director of the ACLU Hawaii, said that highlights a communication gap.

“I think there are some issues about communicating information across departments, across agencies and then in this instance, with Interim Chief Vanic within his own department.”

The commission agreed they’d wait until the next meeting, in two weeks, to discuss with Vanic.

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