Venturing out in the darkness, into a night that was cool and filled with stars, I encountered brilliant Jupiter, giving off a glow as bright as the moon. When I finally did see the moon, hours later in an orange-gray dotted sky shifting from pale pink to lavender, it was the thinnest sliver of silver-white, perched atop the Norfolk pines. And then the clouds rolled in and took all the brightness and beauty.
As I reported in the Honolulu Weekly and this blog, the cops took badges belonging to two members of the Kingdom of Atooi, and Judge Kathleen Watanabe ordered the cops to give the badges back.
But that, of course, was not the end of the story — a story that is starting to sound like a personal vendetta, an abuse of power, even rampant paranoia.
To bring you up to date on the latest, the county prosecutor’s office this week got a temporary stay on having the badges returned pending a ruling on its motion for reconsideration of that order. Apparently the cops and prosecutors just can’t stomach the thought of giving Dayne Gonsalves and Robert Pa back their badges — badges that clearly state they are Kingdom marshals, not cops.
This action, in turn, caused Dayne's oft-delayed trial, previously set for Aug. 29, to be continued yet again.
Assistant Chief Roy Asher, who has been carrying this torch, was present during the most recent court proceedings. How often, do you suppose, does an assistant chief take time from his presumably busy day to attend a hearing related to misdemeanor charges? Why is it that Asher, shown here in a standoff with Dayne at the Superferry protests, has such an intense personal interest in this case?
The answer might be found in a Kauai Police Department document I discovered while researching the Weekly article. It tells of how shortly after Darryl Perry was named Chief, Asher proposed designing a new badge to to reflect a “new beginning” for the department. It goes on to state:
With the use of forfeiture funds, the process from beginning to end took almost 2 years to complete; but it was well worth the effort.
The shield design is a symbol of authority and depicts the official emblem of the United States. The eagle is representative of strength, courage, and freedom, while watching vigilantly; giving protection to the people and their rights as guaranteed under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States of America, and State of Hawaii
This badge is one of a kind, and in some circles believed to be the most beautiful ever created.
But more importantly, it acts as a means to deter police impersonators who display generic badges closely resembling those of other law enforcement agencies. Our badge is so unique that the public can easily distinguish it from a fraud.
So Asher, apparently, has a fixation with badges, which may not be that unusual for a cop, though one has to wonder at the expenditure of two years’ effort and an undisclosed amount of money (even if it is snagged from druggies) on such an endeavor.
But what I found so ironic is that the badge Asher pushed for is supposed to reflect the “aloha spirit” and KPD’s mission statement, which states in part:
We acknowledge and accept our individual differences and unique cultural diversity, and promise to treat each other and everyone we serve with dignity and respect.
How, exactly, does that mesh with confiscating badges that kanaka are allowed to possess as part of the nation-building efforts afforded them under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Obama signed, though Dubya would not? And what kind of aloha is that?
The prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, continues to show its aloha for the Kingdom of Atooi by securing a Grand Jury indictment against Dayne, its leader, on two counts of theft in the second degree and one count of attempted theft in the second degree. His alleged crime? “Stealing and attempting to steal rocks from the Hawaiian Home Lands.”
While it’s questionable whether a kanaka actually can be guilty of stealing something that rightfully belongs to him or her, what caught my eye was the date of the alleged offenses: October 6, 7, and 8, 2008.
Why, do you suppose, did the prosecutor’s office wait three years to seek an indictment against Dayne on these charges?
Do you think it might be for the same reason that of all the people involved in the Superferry protests of 2007, and all the people arrested, only Dayne and Rob are still facing charges? Do you think it might have anything to do with the fact that they didn’t capitulate to the prosecutor's office, and instead are fighting the charges, and to have their badges returned?
Do you think it might have anything to do with a strategy of relentlessly going after anyone who has the temerity to challenge the existing order by establishing a nation with its own law enforcement?
In other words, do you think it might have anything to do with personal vendettas — vendettas carried out at great expense to the taxpayers, vendettas imposing a burden on the already overburdened courts, vendettas that have no place in a system where justice is supposed to be blind?