ON MISSING DPS INTERNAL AFFAIRS FILES, AUDIO FILES
The Superior Court has granted Department of Public Safety officer Dixon Kwon’s request for the Commonwealth to disclose all information in its possession about his arrest that could exonerate him because the court finds that the DPS Internal Affairs investigation report and audio recording contained exculpatory and impeachment evidence in his favor.
Exculpatory evidence refers to evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal case that tends to exonerate him/her of guilt.
In the order by the Superior Court, it deemed the investigation’s findings in Kwon’s case to be generally in his favor because he was re-instated to regular police duty after a mere three-day suspension, and because Internal Affairs investigators could not recall any other finding regarding police misconduct during the motion hearing, and the only audio device that recorded the interviews during the investigation was destroyed and recordings were not retrieved.
“The court hereby finds that, since the Internal Affairs investigation that followed the police misconduct complaint produced evidence that is favorable to [Kwon], the favorable evidence should be disclosed,” the order stated.
According to legal standard, suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process. Favorable evidence includes exculpatory and impeachment evidence.
An investigation by the DPS Internal Affairs Division was conducted after Kwon’s brother, officer Norris Kwon, filed a police misconduct complaint with the DPS commissioner.
All files and audio recordings from the investigation are now missing or have been destroyed.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Dixon Kwon was sanctioned with administrative action for his involvement in the July 22, 2017, car crash incident.
The files regarding DPS’ internal investigation into the case of Kwon was among several files that were misplaced when the DPS Internal Affairs Investigation Division relocated to its new office in 2017.
Police said Kwon was driving his Nissan car on July 22, 2017, when the vehicle ran off the road on As Gonno Highway and hit a tree, causing serious injuries to his passenger, Deedra Santos.
When the officers responded to the area, Dixon Kwon was not at the scene, but Santos was there. Dixon Kwon was an off-duty DUI officer at the time of the accident.