Maui Mayor Michael Victorino on Tuesday condemned police misconduct after an officer was arrested on charges stemming from a woman's complaint that he contacted her after arresting her in a DUI case and suggested he could help her out.
Officer Brandon Saffeels was arrested Monday when he stepped off a flight to Wailuku, according to a Maui police statement. In an news update on Tuesday, the department said Saffeels was released Tuesday on $50,000 bail.
Saffeels faces charges of attempted perjury, attempted hindering prosecution and witness tampering.
The department said it received information from a Hawaii News Now reporter earlier this month about potential abuse of power by one of its officers. Investigators later obtained text messages and voice recordings that supported the allegations, the department said.
According to Hawaii News Now, the woman involved in the case was arrested on July 25 by Saffeels near Maui High School and Kahului Elementary. After she was booked, the woman said she received repeated text messages from Saffeels and a phone call suggesting he could help her in her DUI case and inviting her over to his house.
"The Maui Police Department will always take seriously any accusations of misconduct by any of its officers," said Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu. "Upon being made aware of this situation we aggressively investigated this matter."
Victorino said the allegations "have shaken public confidence in the Maui Police Department. We need to have faith that police officers will serve and protect us -- not abuse their authority."
The 34-year-old Saffeels has been placed on leave without pay, the department said. He faces both criminal and internal investigations. He has worked for the police department for four years, most recently with the Wailuku Patrol Division.