Leaders of the demonstration on Mauna Kea are accusing a law enforcement officer of misconduct. They claim the officer knowingly shared false information with two protectors, trying to pit them against each other.
The kia’i, or protectors, said the special response officer was deliberately trying to incite a reaction inside Puu Huluhlulu, which would give law enforcement a reason to come in and sweep the area.
Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the leaders of the Mauna Kea movement said it first started in mid August.
“I engaged in a conversation with a law enforcement officer. This officer expressed to me that Mikey Glendon…was a problem and according to them a liability to all the individuals in the Puu Honua,” Kanuha said.
The situation ramped up in early September.
Glendon was involved with the construction of an unpermitted structure on Mauna Kea.
Two days after the structure was torn down Glendon said he was approached by a special response team officer.
“I asked him why was it such an abrupt situation where they demolished our learning center? His response to me was that they received a phone call from Puu Huluhlulu, that stated I was in the learning center with a gun with children, ready to shoot it out with police,” Glendon explained.
In a video recording of a conversation between the officer and Glendon, you can hear the officer say that the tip came from inside Puu Huluhulu.
Several days later Glendon said the officer later told him the tip came from Earl DeLeon and Noe Kekaulua, two kia’i at Mauna Kea.
But DeLeon said that’s not true.
“We would never, never ever do something as irresponsible as that. To call in and make a false statement that Mr. Glendon here was in the house with children, armed with a gun. We would never make a false claim to jeopardize the security of our community here at Puu Huluhlulu. It’s irresponsible and unacceptable,” DeLeon said.
Andre Perez, one of the lead kia’i on Mauna Kea said there are a number of things that are disturbing surrounding the situation.
“If information about a purported tip about Mr. DeLeon were true, the officer violated confidentiality by revealing what should have been an anonymous informant. Exposing that informant to the very person informed upon. Revealing that kind of information puts informants at risk,” said Perez.
Had Glendon actually been armed inside the structure, as the officer stated, Perez said the way law enforcement handled the demolition of the unpermitted structure potentially put people gathered on Mauna Kea at risk.
“Law enforcement officers did not approach the building as if there were a gun man inside. The video coverage shows that the special response team did not take the lead of the operation. The officers lined up with their backs facing the structure as if the threat were from the crowd, not from within the structure. The officers were equipped with riot control gear including 4-foot-long batons. In no way did law enforcement appear prepared to confront a gun man with children,” exlained Perez.
Perez said although some of the perimeter was cleared, it wasn’t enough to ensure the safety of the surrounding crowd had Glendon actually been armed inside of the structure.
According to Perez, the spreading of lies surrounding the structure isn’t the only instance of possible officer misconduct.
He said law enforcement recently adopted a number of questionable tactics.
“We believe that Hawaii state law enforcement at Puu Huluhulu may be attempting to agitate protectors and incite discord , possibly violence, through the use of the following tactics,” said Perez.
“State sheriffs lining trucks along the road above the cattle guard on the Mauna Kea Access Road, shining their high beams on the kupuna tent at 1a.m. on Monday September 9th and Tuesday, September 10th. A black hawk helicopter flying low level over the kupuna tent on Tuesday, September 10th.”
Perez also sited the recent addition of sobriety check points manned by special response team officers and the placement of sheriffs along Daniel K. Inouye Highway as two new tactics law enforcement adopted to get a rise out of protectors.
Noenoe Wong-Wilson, one of the revered kupuna on Mauna Kea, said they are are hoping for a full investigation and that the officer be immediately removed from Mauna Kea.
“These allegations are very serious. We are hopeful that they are the work of only a few individuals. However, only a complete and honest investigation will uncover the full scale of this operation. We do not believe that all law enforcement officers are part of a targeted strategy to undermine our movement,” Wong-Wilson said.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said he is saddened by the news.
“I hear the words, I feel the tension,” Kim said.
“There’s no department involvement here. There’s no government involvement here. And the only thing that’s going to resolve this in any way that’s satisfactory is an official investigation be held and I will support that…I have absolute trust in the people I work with–the police the, DOCARE people, the sheriffs office. They was not any kind of departmental plot to do this.”