Investigation continues into memorial day weekend beach parties

Coronavirus

Lawmakers continue to condemn the large parties over Memorial Day weekend on Oahu beaches, the military said it’s working with local law enforcement to investigate who was behind the illegal gatherings and to find out if service members took part in it.

Authorities are tracing the parties back to social media posts, and they are trying to keep up as internet posts for future gatherings continue to be shared.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell commented on the illegal gatherings of hundreds of people during a virtual meeting with the governor and county mayors.

Caldwell said they will keep a closer eye on social media to intercept future party plans.

Caldwell said, “We just need to be more on it and watching what is being said on social media and then having our men and women in blue there as they start to form, and if they are on our parks also our ocean safety officers if it’s during the day to make sure they disperse.”

The Communications Manager at the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Dan Dennison, said weekend officers focused on dispersing the crowd and not so much on citing the people involved. There were more than 200 party-goers compared to the eight officers from the DLNR and HPD.

Dennison said, “This is continuing to be under investigation because it was promoted on social media, so I know authorities are looking into kind of the genesis of this whole thing and find out who was promoting it.”

The 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii officials are joining the investigation. Part of a statement from its public affairs division said:

The 25th Infantry Division & U.S. Army Hawaii officials are coordinating with local law enforcement and conducting an inquiry into allegations of military members involved in two separate, illegal beach parties over the Memorial Day weekend.

As reported by local media and on various social media accounts, the illegal parties occurred at both Waimea Bay Beach Park and Kaena Point State Park’s Mokuleia Beach.

The 25th Infantry Division & U.S. Army Hawaii supports state and local government efforts to protect the community. As such, we remind all service members that violation of state, local, and military prohibitions on social gatherings can be met with punitive action.

Dennison said DLNR officers have looked into reports of other parties for some time, although last weekend’s gatherings were the most egregious during the pandemic.

Dennison said, “We would be advised of party promoters, sometimes they were doing it for money, sometimes they were doing it for fun, you know things like rave they were attracting two to three hundred people some of them.”

Honolulu Councilmember, Kymberly Pine, was among the first to call for tougher consequences for those who are caught. She said, her office already received a tip about plans for a future party.

Pine said, “We are going to take all of these posts very seriously and we will be on the lookout for any parties that are being reported on social media that especially has parties that ruin the environment.”

The Honolulu Police Department said it is still investigating the large gathering at Waimea Bay Beach Park, and it is routinely gathering information from social media and other sources.

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