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State briefs for March 12

Honolulu agrees to pay $550K to settle lawsuit

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu City Council has agreed to pay $550,000 to a retired police lieutenant who claimed that Police Chief Susan Ballard had tampered with recruits’ test scores when she was in charge of the training division.

The council approved the payment Friday to settle the 2009 lawsuit filed by Deeann Koanui, who retired last year.

Koanui had claimed Ballard was involved in tampering with scores on physical and written tests and ordered the destruction of incriminating documents.

Koanui had special training that permitted the department’s programs to be nationally certified. She oversaw physical and other tests of recruits. Five recruits failed a retest on property crimes in April 2008, according to the lawsuit. These recruits should have been terminated, but Ballard or another officer gave them passing scores, the suit said.

Koanui also claimed she faced retaliation and harassment beginning in September 2008 after she started reporting issues to the department’s internal affairs office.

“Lt. Koanui put her heart and soul into making the department better every day she was on the job and filed this lawsuit to try and further that effort,” said Carl Varady, Koanui’s lawyer.

Body of sailor killed at Pearl Harbor ID’d

WASHINGTON (AP) — The body of an Ohio sailor killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II has been identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement Monday that Navy Fireman 3rd Class Willard Lawson was accounted for on Aug. 27, 2018.

Officials say the 25-year-old sailor from Butler County was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. A total of 429 crewmen on the battleship were killed. Only 35 crew members were identified over the next few years.

A renewed effort to identify unknown remains from the USS Oklahoma that began in 2015 resulted in Lawson’s identification.

The Defense Department says Lawson will be buried April 27 in Madison, Indiana.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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