Cockfights And Corruption: How Police Arbitration Kept This Cop On The Job
CB Aug 25, 2021: … Honolulu police officer John Cambra IV was suspended for 626 days after he was caught by the FBI trying to hide evidence in an illegal cockfighting investigation involving his father.
(That's John Cambra III & IV. Scroll down for background on John Cambra I & II.)
The 20-month suspension — considered the longest in HPD history — came after the Honolulu Police Department initially tried firing Cambra in 2008.
But the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers — Hawaii’s politically powerful statewide police union — convinced a third-party arbitrator that the punishment was too severe …
Cambra was reinstated in 2010….
The FBI executed a search warrant at the Cambra property in 2005 as part of a larger investigation into illegal gambling and drug trafficking. …
The charges against Cambra involved a June 21, 2005 search warrant FBI agents executed at his father’s property in Kaneohe.
Cambra lived in a house attached to his dad’s and was there when the agents arrived.….
The investigation resulted in charges against nearly two dozen people, including an FBI secretary who used her access to sensitive law enforcement information to tip off drug dealers.
Five HPD officers, including Cambra, were also indicted. Officers Bryson Apo, Kevin Brunn and Glen Miram were accused of warning North Shore cockfighters and gamblers of impending police raids. Another officer, Barry Tong, was charged with possession of an Israeli machine gun….
In 2020, the Honolulu City Auditor found many HPD discharges and suspensions were overturned after being compared to previous cases. According to the auditor, the situation made it hard for the department to respond to “changing community expectations of greater accountability or reverse a history of lenient discipline.”
“This has been an issue for years,” said Jonathon Grems, a former HPD deputy chief. “It’s frustrating for the department to make the decision to discipline someone and then have an arbitrator overturn that decision based on a similar but very different set of circumstances.”
He said the arbitrators themselves need to be held accountable.
“Nobody knows who the arbitrators are and these decisions are almost never released,” Grems said.
Civil Beat obtained Cambra’s arbitration file as part of a public records request to the City and County of Honolulu seeking all arbitration reports for the past 25 years — records that have only recently become public due to a change in state law….
Link: Act 47 of 2020
The arbitrator in Cambra’s case was Shelley Nobriga, who’s heard cases as an independent arbitrator since 2005.
But she’s also a longtime state employee who spent much of her career with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Nobriga worked as a corrections supervisor as well as an employee disciplinary hearings officer for DPS, according to her resume.
In 2015, Nobriga was promoted to be the agency’s deputy director of corrections but resigned after ethical concerns were raised about her past personal relationships with top prison officials, including then-DPS Director Nolan Espinda….
read … Cockfights And Corruption: How Police Arbitration Kept This Cop On The Job
* * * * *
2015: Deputy corrections director Nobriga resigns over ethical questions
HNN 2015: …Fourteen years ago, she had a relationship with the new Public Safety Director, Nolan Espinda, who's her boss, and until January was warden at Halawa Prison. Espinda and Nobriga had one child. Nobriga said when she was applying for a promotion, she asked the state Ethics Commission for an opinion and they said there was no ethical problem with Espinda being her boss.
"We were no longer in a relationship and there was no financial connection because the position was based on an appointment and the salary was dictated by statute," Nobriga said.
For the last 14 years, her partner with whom she's had another child has been Scott Harrington, who's now the warden at Waiawa Community Correctional Center. As deputy director, she would have overseen him.
At first, she claimed she didn't think there was an ethical conflict….
Nobriga began her career as a social worker at Halawa Prison when she started work in the department nearly 27 years ago….
read … Deputy corrections director resigns over ethical questions
2015: Ige's DPS Deputy Nominee Placed Kulani Warden on Unpaid Leave, Then Quit Job
2015: Espinda Critics "Sissies, Assassins, Cowards"
* * * * *
Flashback: Cambra Crime Family news from 2012 ….
Hawaii Movie, TV Drivers Have A Long History of Drugs and Violence
Jim Dooley 2012: …The February death of "Hawaii Five-0" driver Aaron Torres is the latest link in a decades-long chain of incidents connecting Teamsters movie and television drivers here to drugs and violence.
- Two Five-0 drivers are on federal parole after serving five-year prison terms in separate methamphetamine distribution cases.
- The man hired to replace Torres as a transportation captain has been convicted of drug dealing and assault.
- A past business associate of Torres, George Cambra Jr., worked as a Five-0 driver last year while awaiting trial on drug-related forgery and theft charges.
Cambra and his father have been directly or indirectly linked to three of the most notorious criminal cases in recent Hawaii history.
- George Cambra Sr., served a federal prison sentence for conspiring with fellow Teamster movie driver Joseph “Joe Boy” Tavares in 1997 to set fire to film and television production vehicles owned by competitors of the Cambra company.
- The elder Cambra and Tavares accused each other of involvement in the 1994 waterfront murder of movie vehicle owner David Walden, although each denied the allegations. No one was ever charged in the murder and the case is unsolved.
Walden was shot to death by two men on a motorcycle while he waited for a business appointment with three Teamster movie drivers.
- George Cambra Jr. admitted in federal court testimony in 2009 that he helped to destroy firearms used in the 2004 organized crime murders of two men at the City’s Pali municipal golf course.
Nationally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been under a federal court order for 21 years requiring the union to cooperate with and pay for investigations of any ties to organized crime or labor racketeering.
The probes are conducted by what is called the Internal Review Board, based in New York City, that has previously brought charges against Teamsters members for illegal activities connected to film and television productions in several locations around the country.
The IRB has never brought charges against Teamsters in Hawaii…
read … Drug, Violence, Unions
Hawaii Five-0 Teamsters Official Killed By Police
Jim Dooley 2012: A Teamsters Union supervisor on the “Hawaii Five-0” television production was asphyxiated by police at his Nanakuli home in February and was in a “cocaine-induced excited delirium” when he died, according to the City Medical Examiner’s office.
Aaron “Spydah” Torres, 37, died of “mechanical asphyxia during police restraint” Feb. 20 and his body showed a “history of cocaine abuse,” the office said.
The Medical Examiner said the manner of Torres’ death was “homicide” and police are conducting an internal affairs investigation to determine if the use of lethal force against him was justified.
An attorney representing the Torres family, Michael Green, said the investigation could result in criminal charges against the officers involved.
read … Teamsters, Cocaine