Wednesday, November 22, 2000
The suit blames the state for releasing personal info
By Debra Barayuga
A police officer under investigation for driving under the influence and negligent homicide alleges that the state violated his right to privacy by releasing information that was personal and part of the police investigation.
Clyde Arakawa filed suit in U.S. District Court yesterday against Ronald Sakata, chief adjudicator of the Judiciary’s Administrative Driver’s License Revocation office.
The office reviewed police reports surrounding the Oct. 7 crash, in which Arakawa’s car collided with another car, killing 19-year-old Dana Ambrose.
The office revoked Arakawa’s licensae for a year for his refusal to submit to sobriety tests after the crash and because police reports indicate that alcohol may have been a factor.
The suit contends that police reports and Arakawa’s personal information, including his home address, date of birth and Social Security number, were not part of any record except those maintained by Sakata and his office and made available to media.
Sakata said he has not seen the complaint and declined comment until he has conferred with staff attorneys.
When contacted last month by the media about Arakawa, Sakata said he could not release any information until his office issued a decision.
The decision and the police reports reviewed by his office were made available after the decision was reached to revoke Arakawa’s driver’s license.
Earlier this month, Ambrose’s family filed suit against Arakawa and two restaurants that allegedly served Arakawa alcohol the night of the fatal crash.
Rick Fried, attorney for the Ambroses, has said witnesses at the intersection saw Arakawa’s car run the red light and strike Dana Ambrose’s car.
Arakawa, in police reports, contends that he had the green light and didn’t know where Ambrose’s car came from.