Retired Hilo police detective avoids jail time in assault cases

  • IAN LEE LOY

CORRECTION: Judge Kim dismissed the more serious charges against Ian Lee Loy in a plea deal with prosecutors. A previous version of this story didn’t clarify that prosecutors brokered the arrangement. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

A Kailua-Kona court has dismissed a pair of charges against a retired Hilo police detective in two violent incidents.

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Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim dismissed charges of second-degree assault, a Class C felony, and misdemeanor domestic abuse charges against Ian Lee Loy, in a plea deal with prosecutors.

The assault charge — the most serious faced by Lee Loy — was dismissed on June 8, and the abuse charges were dismissed April 9, according to court records.

The charges were dropped in exchange for no contest pleas entered on Dec. 30 to third-degree assault in connection with a May 25, 2020, domestic incident in which the victim was Lee Loy’s wife, County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, and to misdemeanor harassment for a July 25, 2019, assault on Neal Tanaka, the county Building Division’s acting deputy chief.

Kim sentenced Ian Lee Loy to six months in jail, but suspended the jail term.

The judge also granted Lee Loy a deferred acceptance of the no contest pleas for a year, which means the convictions will be expunged from Lee Loy’s criminal record if he stays out of trouble with the law for a year.

Lee Loy was still a member of the police department when the attack on Tanaka — originally charged as a felony assault — occurred. Lee Loy retired from the department on July 31, 2019, less than a week after the incident.

According to court documents, Lee Loy confronted Tanaka outside the Hilo Lagoon Center and struck him on the right side of the face with an open left hand, causing pain to his right ear, according to the document.

Tanaka told a responding police officer he fell backwards after being hit, and Lee Loy told him, “There is so much more I wanna do to you,” before driving off in a silver Ford Exhibition sport-utility vehicle.

A certified physician assistant at Aloha Kona Urgent Care documented “a perforation of Tanaka’s right tympanic membrane, resulting in rupture of about 1/4 (to) 1/3 of the ear drum.” The physician assistant further noted that “long-term hearing impairment” could result from the injury, according to court documents.

In the domestic incident, which occurred on Memorial Day 2020, a former police spokesman said Ian Lee Loy “threw (an) object and caused bleeding on hip and left arm” of his wife, and the altercation took place in the couple’s Panaewa home.

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Lee Loy was adjudicated in Kona Circuit Court because both Hilo circuit judges, Peter Kubota and Henry Nakamoto, recused themselves from hearing the cases.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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