Governor David Ige wants those opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope, as well as its supporters, to stop spreading threatening words and images surrounding the ongoing Mauna Kea conflict on social media.
He says he’s disappointed to see the level of hostility and the racist comments being directed at individuals on both side of the issue.
But there is a great concern for state workers that are being targeted who are only doing their jobs.
Attorney General clare Conoors showed an example of a post shared on social media attacking a state worker.
“His face, his name, his information was posted and there was the line, “time for the hawaiians to start assassinating these terrorists,” Connors said.
A number of alarming posts began circulating spreading vitriol surrounding the ongoing demonstrations.
Connors even pulled up a post putting a bounty on a sheriff after he sawed through a Hawaiian flag during the removal of an unpermitted structure on Mauna Kea last Friday.
“Putting a bounty of the head of a law enforcement officer is disturbing and deeply dangerous. This law enforcement officer showed up to work that day when he found himself in an untenable situation,” Connors explained.
“This post directed at an individual who, day in and day out, puts his life on the line as a law enforcement officer is shameful and should not be condoned,” said Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda.
William Aila Jr., Director of Hawaiian Home Lands said that state employees and their families should never be exposed to these types of attacks.
Ige added that he too has been the target of threats.
“I am aware of death threats against me personally and against others in the administration,” Ige said.
Although no one has been hurt up to this point, officials are afraid that if the rhetoric continues in this manner it will eventually incite a violent reaction.
Connors did not place blame on anyone specific for the threats but warned that there could be consequences.
“We acknowledge that not all individuals and persons associated with this movement are involved in this type of conduct. We’re not suggesting that they condone it. But it is important for all who post, all who send out public messages to take care and really think about the reprocutions of words that are used,” Connors said.
Ige called for everyone responsible for the horrific examples of cyber bullying to stop immediately.
“Personal attacks and threats of violance have no place in America and certainly no place in Hawaii. For those who claim to be protecting Hawaiian values to resort to these kinds of tactics is disappointing and painful for me to see,” Ige explained.
Andre Perez, one of the protectors of Mauna Kea, said he agrees with the Governor.
“Puu Huluhulu has never put out any kind of calls for violence or aggression. We condemn that kind of language,” said Perez.
Perez said he wants to put a message out to everyone to refrain from using violent language.
“We condemn violent language. We condemn putting a bounty on people. We condemn language that targets individuals in harmful ways.”
KHON: “Some of the messaging that is actually sent out from Puu Huluhulu, Mauna Media, was talked about here. For example, the “use of excessive force.” Can you talk to me about that? That is coming from some of your people.”
“Yeah, I’ll take responsibility for use of language like excessive force because we have a responsibility to ensure that people are safe, and if we get indications that there might be excessive force we’re going to speak to that,” Perez explained.
Perez added that the protectors continue to do all they can to de-escalate the situation through kapu aloha.