The sky was oozing gold around its northeastern edges, but mostly it was grey, so I wasn’t expecting anything showy when Koko and I went walking this quiet Sunday morning.
But looks can be deceiving, as I discovered when the sun rose in earnest, infusing color into the world, and I watched a rain shower, tinted pink, drift the entire length of the Sleeping Giant’s body and a thick, vibrant rainbow form when the rain reached the cinder cone, and soon it was joined by another, only this one was slightly fainter, and then they both touched down in a roadside pasture. I don’t think there was a pot of gold at the end, unless you count the value of the cow that ambled through and the inherent splendor of a scene that filled my eyes with beauty and so my heart with joy.
And suddenly the rain was upon me, soft and warm, and still the light did not fade, nor the rainbows, which followed me home and as I turned into my driveway, Koko and I were standing at the apex of the most brilliant arch and we remained there, paying homage, until the rain stopped and the colors disappeared.
It seems, from recent actions, that the Kauai Police Department would like the Kingdom of Atooi to disappear, so in following the usual strategy taken when the established power structure feels threatened, they’re going after its leaders, Dayne Aipoalani and Robert Pa, in a heavy-handed way.
As you may recall, Dayne and Robert were arrested last October at a planning commission meeting — you know, the place where hardened criminals and radical revolutionaries usually hang out — on charges of obstructing government operations, disorderly conduct and simple trespassing, stemming from the late August Superferry protests at Nawiliwili.
Both men were also charged with impersonating a police officer because they were carrying badges — not fake or real cop badges, but badges issued by the Kingdom.
Since then, even though the county prosecutor has failed to successfully prosecute others arrested at the Superferry protests due to the usual police bungling (go bunglers!), the case against Rob and Dayne has dragged on.
In between court appearances, the cops have subjected both men to harassment that would be considered petty, except their liberty — and since cops carry guns, and soon tasers, perhaps even their lives — is at stake.
The most recent event occurred on Wednesday night, following the anti-GMO meeting in Hanapepe, which Dayne had attended. While driving home with his wife and daughter, he was stopped by a large number of cops, some of them reportedly dressed in riot gear, then shackled and hauled off to jail on a contempt warrant for missing a court appearance.
Never mind that Dayne had a doctor’s excuse for missing his court date, and that the excuse was indeed in the records. But instead of letting him go immediately, with an apology, they reportedly questioned him about the ongoing occupation at Iolani Palace. What, just because he’s a kanaka, he’s supposed to have da scoop on what every other independence group is up to?
This kind of amped-up take-down shake-down is totally uncalled for. Dayne has never advocated any sort of violent overthrow or been known to carry weapons; indeed, the group advocates such radicalism as cleaning up ice, more citizen participation in decision-making and sensible land use planning.
I realize this is all very threatening to the status quo, but certainly Dayne and Rob have as much right to push their agenda as, say, Grove Farm, which has already so thoroughly infiltrated the county’s political system that it has no need to advocate for change from a position outside of it.
Meanwhile, when I interviewed Rob Pa about his hand-carved Polynesian canoe, he told of how he was trying to transport it to Kekaha for a town celebration when cops stopped him in Anahola because he reportedly didn’t have a permit to move it on the road, even though it was on a trailer.
The cops demanded Rob’s driver’s license, which was in the glove box, but instead of letting him go get it, they arrested him and hauled him off to jail for driving without a license. His wahine, also in the car with their two young kids and baby, had to follow him down to Babylon central to produce the license. The charges were dropped, but needless to say, it kind of ruined their day.
Instead of trying to destroy the Kingdom and incarcerate two men who are trying hard to do something positive for the community, why can’t the cops work with them, like they’ve embraced the Westside Guardian Angels and neighborhood watch groups?
I liked and respected KPD Chief Darryl Perry when I met him, and I know his sister, Mahealani Perez-Wendt, is a strong advocate of Hawaiian independence. I’m not sure where he stands on the issue, but regardless, I hope he can come to understand that the Kingdom guys are not our enemies, and shouldn’t be treated like thugs and terrorists. The cops on the beat need to be reined in here.
As Rob told me: “I like they leave us alone and recognize us. I’m doing what I should be doing, but the state, DLNR, the cops, all try to stop us. Who is them to be telling us you cannot do this, you cannot do that?”