Sunday, March 03, 2024|
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BROWN (from 2009)
A Hawaii Police Department detective has been accused of lying to a grand jury in a drug case.
Detective William Brown is charged with perjury — a Class C felony carrying a potential five-year prison sentence upon conviction — and tampering with a government record, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
The charges were filed by state Attorney General Anne Lopez in an information complaint, a charging document that requires a judge to sign off on evidence presented by prosecutors.
Brown was arrested and charged this afternoon. He was released on his own recognizance, the least restrictive form of cashless bail.
According to the complaint filed today in Hilo Circuit Court, Brown, then assigned to East Hawaii Vice Section, made a false statement to the grand jury on March 15 in the case of Julissa Herrera, who was indicted on charges of first-, second- and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, plus possession of drug paraphernalia.
Herrera, a 34-year-old Hilo woman, was a passenger in a stolen vehicle spotted by police on March 12 in the drive-thru of the Puainako Jack in the Box and stopped, according to court documents filed by police. Officers reportedly confiscated 33.24 grams of meth, 0.28 grams of heroin and a single tablet of oxycodone, a semisynthetic opioid painkiller marketed as OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan and Tylox.
Documents state police also recovered a pink pencil pouch resembling a stuffed animal and found a glass smoking pipe with meth residue inside the pouch.
Brown allegedly told the grand jury that Herrera told him “she entered the vehicle with only two items. One was her cell phone and the other was what she called a pink stuffed animal.” The complaint alleges Brown knew his statement to the grand jury wasn’t true.
Brown also is accused of making a version of the same allegedly fallacious statement in a written probable cause affidavit dated March 12. The document, also known as a “Riverside affidavit,” is used by judges to determine whether to continue holding a pretrial suspect in custody and for setting bail amounts.
According to police, the department learned of the allegations against Brown on July 18. HPD’s Office of Professional Standards — the department’s internal affairs unit — immediately worked with the county prosecutor’s office to have Herrera released from custody.
The charges against her were dropped July 26. The dismissal was “without prejudice,” which means prosecutors are free to refile them.
In addition, personnel from the OPS Criminal Investigation Section began a criminal investigation into Brown, resulting in today’s charges. According to police, during that investigation, the department moved Brown away from his investigative assignment.
The ongoing internal investigation that started in July is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
Following his arrest, Brown was placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of his case.
“I consider the charges against Detective Brown to be incredibly serious,” HPD Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz told the Tribune-Herald. “If true, they represent a significant breach of trust between the police and the community. The allegations against him have yet to be proven in court and are not reflective of the integrity, hard work and dedication department members exhibit every day.”
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