Towers of gray cumulus clouds stood in stark contrast to the pink background sky, creating the appearance of a magical city on the horizon, when the dogs and I went out walking this morning. Makalehea was well-draped in lacy white, and a black mass was racing toward Waialeale, who has rarely shown her face this summer.
Then suddenly, there was a flash of light and the just-risen sun squeezed through a small crack in the gray, blinking, blinding, changing everything, but only for a moment or two, before it slipped back into the clouds.
The prosecutor’s office suffered another setback yesterday when Judge Kathleen Watanabe upheld her original order requiring the Kauai cops to give Dayne “Aipoalani” Gonsalves back his Kingdom of Atooi marshal badge.
But in true “never say die” fashion, the prosecutor’s office immediately announced it will take up the matter with the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Who knows, maybe the Hawaii Supreme Court ultimately will be asked to decide whether kanaka maoli do, indeed, have the right to build a nation with all its appurtenances, including law enforcement officers carrying badges.
In the meantime, Dayne’s badge remains in lock down.
One of the things that most concerns me about this issue was expressed in a comment left the last time I wrote about this topic:
[Assistant] Chief [Roy] Asher is concerned because he doesn't want Kingdom Marshalls pulling people over, threatening tourists, etc. The badge might say "Marshall," but if two big Hawaiian guys flash badges and tell you to do something, you're going to do it.
Umm, sorry, but the law is not supposed to work that way. As another commenter noted:
KPD should not be able to confiscate the badge because someone might misuse it. WTF are we a free country or not?
Exactly. This kind of pre-emptive action, which is typically driven by selective enforcement and profiling, is extremely dangerous. If taken to extremes, which cops are wont to do, it could give them justification to do all sorts of arbitrary, un-Constitutional stuff, like confiscate guns and heck, even lock up all the young brown boys deemed to have an attitude. Cuz they scare the mainland transplants and tourists and just might commit a crime, ya know.
Yet as The Garden Island reports today — and I’m so glad they’ve begun covering this story — that mindset appears to be driving the prosecution’s fanatical prosecution of this case:
Responding to the judge’s questions, [Deputy Prosecutor Melinda] Mendes expanded on initial concerns that the badge was evidence, asserting that its public use could come in conflict with the rights of citizens and in accordance to Hawaiian and U.S. laws.
And just what citizen “rights” might be in jeopardy here? The right to be shaken down only by KPD officers, and not Kingdom marshals? Come on.
As for “in accordance with Hawaiian and U.S. laws,” the members of the Kingdom of Atooi and Reinstated Hawaiian Government that I’ve talked to have no interest in enforcing state or federal laws. They only want to enforce their own nation’s laws. And why shouldn’t they?
The real issue here is that the cops currently have all the power, and they aren’t into sharing.
As Henry Noa, prime minister of the RHG, noted in his recent presentation to the Kauai Police Commission:
Our nation is registering motor vehicles. We are allowed to do this. Every nation on earth requires registration of its vehicles. But if a Kauai Police officer sees one of our citizen vehicles with our registration or a license tag – the usual result is a citation or an arrest and KPD confiscating the registration and tags. That is illegal. When police confiscate our government’s property – because they believe that a driver has not complied with their laws, the police are violating the law. It is one thing for KPD officers to ticket our nationals for driving a vehicle that is not registered with your government. It is quite another thing for a police officer to deem our license tags or registrations to be “fraudulent” or confiscate them as somehow being offensive to KPD.
We cannot implement our nation building, and exercise the rights to self-determination that have been promised to us, if we are met with police resistance at every turn.
We are supposed to be treated as partners and not as a subjugated people. We are here to respectfully ask that your police department be instructed to consider whether they themselves might be violating the law when they confiscate our government property and arrest our citizens for asserting self-determination – when they are supposed to be acting as our partner in returning what was stolen.
So far, the judicial system has agreed with Henry Noa. In ordering the cops to return Dayne’s badge, Judge Watanabe made it clear that the police had acted inappropriately in confiscating it. And if it’s not OK to take a Kingdom badge, how could it be OK to take a RHG license plate or identification card?
Let’s just hope that every kanaka working toward sovereignty, in whatever form it may take, doesn’t have to go through the trauma and expense of arrest and prosecution to bring the cops and the prosecutor’s office into compliance with the law.