Thursday, August 11, 2011


COULD YOU REPEAT THAT FOR THE WEST COAST?: We'd sure would have liked to be a fly on the wall at Hawai`i Island Police Department (HIPD) headquarters when officer James Waiamau got his chewing out, most likely not for what appears to be the actual beating and arrest of Damon Tucker- yeah, we're making a week of it and you'll see why- but for being so stupid as to pick a guy who has a fair-sized megaphone... a guy you'd think Waiamau would or should have known (although many think he and they knew exactly whom they were harassing).

Presumably, with the state-wide publicity and the official HIPD release saying it "recognizes the media and the public have every right to photograph police activity in a public place from a safe distance," you'd pretty much think that the cost of defending, much less settling, Tucker's probable lawsuit would have everyone on their best behavior, especially if a "photographing in public" incident comes up again.

Moreover you'd think that when they found out that they had a problem with the report number on Tucker's "Obstructing a Government Operation" summons that he received upon leaving the cell block, the officer they sent to give him the corrected paperwork would have some semblance of an idea of what to do and not to do if someone was there with a video camera.

But there it is- a video, shot by Big Island Video News' (BIVN) David Corrigan in which Officer K. Veincent orders Tucker to tell Corrigan to stop video taping.

Tucker was there for an interview with BIVN and apparently had agreed to meet up with Veincent there too... at the "scene of the crime." About five minutes into the piece a red late model Dodge Charger with a blue roof light pulls up and Tucker leans into the passenger window.

He then turns around, looks into the camera and says "He doesn't want you video taping- he doesn't see the reason why."

The first part is insane enough- police are presumed to have the "persuasive power" so an illegal request comes under harassment and misconduct. But the fact that Veincent presumes that the videographer has to have a reason to continue makes you wonder who the heck is in charge down at HIPD headquarters.

As to the rest of the interview- which was attended by Barbara Lively the legislative assistant to Hawai`i County Councilman Fred Blas- Tucker, visibly shaken during and after the meeting with Veincent, shows clearly where the beating and arrest took place as he goes through a "walking tour" of the chronology of the incident.

Then at the end of the piece, he can be seen fighting back tears and saying "as you can see I'm clearly across the street... The fight happened right over here (pointing) so I'm way far away from where the fighting was."

Judging by the official statement, somebody at HIPD clearly recognizes, if not what the right thing to do when an officer comes across someone taping their activities from a "safe distance" is, then at least what it's going to cost the county.

But Veincent quote possibly just put another "zero" at the right of the figure that Tucker will ultimately receive by continuing the harassment and intimidation.

We've been pretty critical of our own Kaua`i Police Department and some of the clearly knuckle-headed, bad policy and bad publicity actions over the years. But they've got a ways to go in the goon department to catch up with their brethren at the other end of the state.


KimoRosen said...

Damon Tucker is going to be laughing all the way to the bank, although I have never actually seen anyone laughing all the way to the bank, I am sure he will not only be laughing, but he will be photographing the event and be asked by the police to stop filming his adventure to the bank, which he won't and the saga will continue...

kalikapika said...

This all seems a bit over the top. Put some big boy pants on and put your effort into people who are horribly brutalized daily.