The Kauai Police Department is now working with the county prosecutor’s office to identify those protesters who remained at the Naue burial site yesterday after police told them to leave. Warrants will then be issued for their arrest, on a charge of petty misdemeanor trespassing.
I had a chat with Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry today and asked why he took that approach, rather than arresting them at the site. He said there were several reasons why he chose that route.
“I believe the protesters were expecting us to have a knee jerk reaction and arrest them, and there were several cameras on site to record it," he said. "They wanted publicity. But we wanted to keep the focus on the issue and not on KPD.”
Perry said he also had learned the contractor was not planning to do any work on the site that day, and so was not pushing to have the protesters arrested.
“The protesters were very civil and cooperative and they weren’t creating any disturbance,” Perry said. “Time was on our side. We decided to play it cool, play it safe and wait until we had resources available and then go down there and place them under arrest. But before we could do that, they voluntarily disbanded.”
Perry said the protesters, who had linked themselves together with sections of PVC pipe, could have been injured if the police had tried to remove them and "that’s the last thing we wanted.”
The Chief also dismissed rumors that the cops were planning to use Tasers to break up the protest. While the department does have Tasers now, he said, “we’re not going to use them in those situations. This is a very unique situation and we have to develop unique strategies for dealing with it.
“We were not going to use chemical sprays or club them or do anything to them except we were just going to give them more water if they needed it. That was our only plan.”