Kauai police chief suspended without pay for mocking Asians


LIHUE, Hawaii — The police commission on the Hawaii island of Kauai has suspended the police chief without pay for five days for making discriminatory comments after an investigation found he mocked people of Asian descent.

The Kauai Police Department said in a statement Friday that Chief Todd Raybuck will be suspended from April 26-30 for violating county policy. He will also be required to complete Equal Employment Opportunity anti-discrimination training and cultural sensitivity training.

The police department said a Kauai Department of Human Resources investigation concluded there was no evidence to support the allegation that Raybuck failed to promote an employee based upon the person’s ancestry, race or national origin.

Raybuck said in a statement that he values and appreciates diversity in the workplace and community.

“I accept responsibility for my comments and will continue to use this experience to expand my cultural awareness and increase my knowledge and understanding of different cultures,” he said.

The police department’s statement didn’t provide details on Raybuck’s violations, only that they occurred on Nov. 13, 2019 and July 29, 2020.

The Garden Island newspaper last month reported an investigation by the Kauai Police Commission found Raybuck on Nov. 13, 2019 relayed a story of meeting someone of Asian descent in a restaurant in which he parodied the person’s speech and mannerisms.

Raybuck used “facial gestures and accent, and commented on an employee’s haircut as something out of a Kung Fu movie,” according to a letter by commission Chairperson Catherine Adams.

A complaint filed against the chief said he laughed and thought his demonstration was funny.

In a July 29, 2020, incident, Raybuck explained why an employee of Japanese descent wasn’t chosen for a promotion, according to audio recordings submitted as evidence for the complaint and obtained by Lihue newspaper.

“So, somebody in the Japanese culture, if they think your idea is absolutely stupid and the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard, what’s their typical response to you?” Raybuck said, according to the newspaper. “‘Yes, yes, yes.’”

A complaint filed against Raybuck alleged he squinted and bowed his head when making the comments.

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