Sg. David “Kawika” Hallums of the Honolulu Police Department said he was removed almost immediately after being sworn in as the vice president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) because he was a whistleblower.
Hallums allegedly received a resignation letter upon being sworn in, and was pressured by other board members to sign the letter. He also claims other leadership at SHOPO threatened legal action against him if he refused to resign.
Hallums had previously reported a misuse of union funds by another SHOPO board member, among some other forms of wrongdoing. The president of SHOPO, Robert Cavaco, denied the allegations, saying Hallums’ original complaint did not have any “factual or legal merit.” The organization claimed Hallums misused union funds by taking vacation and per diem during a work trip in 2019.
However, the former president of SHOPO in 2019, Malcolm Lutu, said Hallums was allowed to do that by the Honolulu Police Department and did not violate any bylaws with his actions. Hallums even voluntarily paid back the money, and there were no complaints at the time about the arrangement.
Hallums has now filed a lawsuit against SHOPO, though his attorney has not discussed the specific damages he is seeking.
If you believe you have been a victim of wrongful termination or whistleblower retaliation, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group for information about the processes you should follow.