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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alleged threat against senator probed

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sen. Donna Mercado Kim

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The state Department of Public Safety is looking into an incident on Friday in which a female correctional officer allegedly made a threat against state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, D-14th (Hālawa, Moanalua, Kamehameha Heights).

The woman was among several correctional officers who visited Kim's office after a rally at the state Capitol to complain about a potential budget cut that may force Hālawa Correctional Facility to close a module and lay off workers.

Kim, the chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, recommended the budget cut at Hālawa to help with the state's budget deficit.

The officer allegedly told one of Kim's staffers that it would be Kim's fault if she were to get shot while driving around.

"It seemed like a threat," Kim said.

Clayton Frank, director of the state Department of Public Safety, said internal affairs investigators spoke with Kim's staff on Friday and yesterday.

"It's a formal investigation," Frank said.

Kim said she doubted the budget cut would cause as many job losses as estimated by the United Public Workers, the union that represents correctional officers. She said the union had unnecessarily incited workers with claims of job losses and suggestions that increased prisoner transfers to the Mainland would lead to greater gang violence in the Islands when they return.

Kim said the union has apologized and tried to explain that the woman was referring to the potential for the senator to be shot by a gang member.