State briefs for May 25

Police sergeant pleads not guilty to abusing wife

HONOLULU — A Honolulu police sergeant requested a jury trial after pleading not guilty to charges he abused and harassed his estranged wife.

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Darren Cachola, 46, was charged with one count of misdemeanor abuse and two counts of petty misdemeanor harassment.

Defense attorney William Harrison filed the pleas on behalf of the 23-year police veteran, who did not appear in court and remains free after posting $1,500 bail.

Cachola abused his wife in the presence of a child April 23, authorities said.

The couple has two children and they are living in separate homes while in the process of obtaining a divorce.

Judge Naunanikinau Kamalii scheduled a June 3 hearing in response to Cachola’s request for a jury trial.

Kamalii reduced Cachola’s bail to $200 to ensure “he participates as he is supposed to in the proceedings going forward,” noting Cachola is obligated to appear at future hearings.

Cachola’s wife filed a civil lawsuit accusing him and the police department of negligence, conspiracy and infliction of emotional distress.

The Honolulu Police Department placed him on restricted duty.

Cachola was fired after a 2014 surveillance video showed him hitting a former girlfriend at a restaurant.

He regained his position when an arbitrator reversed the decision.

National Weather Service plans to investigate fake alert

HONOLULU — The National Weather Service plans to investigate a fake threat that was circulated about an earthquake in Japan and a subsequent tsunami.

“It was fabricated, it was not a real message and there was no earthquake in Japan,” said Chip McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on Oahu, which is 0operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The bogus message went out after 4 p.m. Tuesday on a global telecommunications system used by the World Meteorological Organization based in Switzerland.

The message said a magnitude-8.0 earthquake occurred in Japan near Nagasaki, although the coordinates given were not accurate.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center received inquiries from global weather agencies and tsunami monitoring stations. Officials provided assurances there was no earthquake or tsunami threat, with additional messages posted on social media.

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The tsunami warning was only shared on a closed communication channel.

The National Weather Service will “be able to determine at least a general idea of where that message came from and hopefully put something in effect to prevent that from happening in the future,” McCreery said.

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