Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Two members of deOccupy Honolulu's "chain gang" arrested

By H. Doug Matsuoka

When Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers and City crews raided the deOccupy Honolulu encampment today to seize property tagged yesterday, they also came upon three protesters who had chained themselves to each other and to the tent flooring pallet. The "chain gang" was protesting the City's continuing use of Bill 54 (ordinance 11-029) to seize and destroy the belongings of the homeless.

Press interview the deOccupy Honolulu "chain gang" after police left. Two -- Catherine Russell and Jehle Phillips were later arrested and released on bail.
The police called for an ambulance and a firetruck, but the firemen to their credit refused to cut the chain gang out of their chains so they could be removed to jail. And the ambulance workers likewise refused that their ambulance be used as paddy wagon. So the police left to raid the pop-up encampment that deOccupy Honolulu had set up at the University of Hawaii on September 17, as part of the worldwide Occupy Monsanto effort.

That encampment had been moved temporarily to private property to circumvent the ordinance. The police did not even bother getting out of their cars at that encampment and left after being called out by the deOccupy Honolulu bullhorns.

Shortly after the chain gang disentangled themselves, police swooped in and arrested two, Catherine Russell and Jehle Phillips at Thomas Square. They were charged with Obstruction of Government Operations and were released quickly on bail.

I don't know if this case will present an opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of Honolulu's Bill 54, but it's worth speculating on. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently found LA's version of the ordinance violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, but as Larry Geller points out, they had a lawyer. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, deOccupy Honolulu plans to go ahead with their Off Art After Dark event this Friday (9/28), a permitted event with live music, art, and of course, an open mic celebration of free speech. The better to preach the primary tenet of the group, the separation of corporation and state.

Here's a 5 minute edit of today's livestream coverage of the raid:

Now, if these raids would stop for a while, I could get you my article on the goals and accomplishments of the group during the last (almost) one year!

Click for a Flickr photo set of today's events.

H. Doug Matsuoka
26 September 2012
Makiki, Honolulu


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