Honolulu,HI- City to drop homeless protest case
7 years ago
http://starbulletin.com/2006/08/12/news/story08.html City to drop homeless protest case Two advocates had sued over their arrest for protesting closure of Ala Moana Park Star-Bulletin staff firstname.lastname@example.org Honolulu prosecutors will not pursue criminal trespassing charges against two homeless advocates arrested at City Hall earlier this year for protesting nighttime closures at Ala Moana Park. "Upon further review, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney has declined further prosecution in this matter," Jim Fulton of the prosecutor's office confirmed yesterday. Siuea Utuloa "Utu" Langi and Julia Matsui Estrella had claimed in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that their arrest and subsequent prosecution caused them much suffering, including emotional distress. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked last week that the charges be dropped because they violated the pair's First Amendment rights. Estrella and Langi could not be reached for immediate comment. They were among about 100 people who marched to City Hall on March 27 to demonstrate after police began enforcing a nighttime closure of the park for around-the-clock maintenance and cleanup. Protesters had gathered for about two hours before authorities began clearing the area around midnight. Authorities had said the protesters could not sleep or set up tents on the grounds of Honolulu Hale. Most protesters cleared out or moved off the grounds. Estrella, Langi and two others left but soon returned to continue their protest. The other two protesters arrested were charged with criminal trespassing, pleaded no contest and were sentenced to time served. BACK TO TOP © Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://starbulletin.com *fair use*
'True victory for the homeless'
7 years ago
http://tinyurl.com/hoe84 Posted on: Friday, August 11, 2006 'True victory for the homeless' By Curtis Lum Advertiser Staff Writer The city prosecutor's office has decided not to pursue trespassing charges against two homeless advocates who were arrested while demonstrating at Honolulu Hale last March. Siuea Utuloa "Utu" Langi and Julia Matsui Estrella were arrested on the grounds of City Hall March 28 following a march to protest the city's closure of Ala Moana Beach Park. The closure, which was intended to prepare for extensive renovation at the park, also meant the eviction of nearly 200 homeless people who were living there. "Both of them feel as though the dismissals are a true victory for the homeless population in Hawai'i," said Lois Perrin, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i, which asked for a dismissal of the charges. "The march on City Hall was one of the first times that the homeless population had gotten together in order to show solidarity in their protest against the government, and they really feel as if this will give strength to that community." On March 27, about 100 homeless and supporters marched from the park to Honolulu Hale, where they held a peaceful protest. Early the next morning, four people, including Langi and Estrella, were arrested after they disobeyed police orders to leave the lawn of City Hall. Last week, the ACLU filed a motion in Honolulu District Court on behalf of the two and asked a judge to throw out the trespassing charges. The ACLU argued that Langi and Estrella were unlawfully arrested while exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and protest. On Wednesday, the prosecutor's office filed a motion to dismiss the charges, and District Judge Russel Nagata granted the motion. "After further review, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney declined further prosecution in this matter," said spokesman Jim Fulton. He declined further comment. Langi and Estrella could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Perrin said the two feel vindicated. Still pending is a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the ACLU that accuses the city and police department of unlawfully arresting Langi and Estrella. The lawsuit seeks an undetermined amount in damages and attorney fees. Yesterday, the ACLU filed a second federal lawsuit on behalf of two clergymen and a religious group who allege that the city violated their constitutional rights by prohibiting them from demonstrating at City Hall. The second suit asks the federal court to order the city to stop any violations of their First Amendment rights and to award money damages and attorney fees. The Revs. Bob Nakata and Sam Cox, along with the Interfaith Alliance of Hawai'i, accuse the city of discriminating against homeless advocates by not allowing them to gather and protest on the grounds of Honolulu Hale. The city, the lawsuit said, subjected the homeless advocates to more restrictive conditions than other members of the public. "The fact that countless groups have protested on the grounds in the past without the same abusive treatment demonstrates that the (city) intended to muzzle the speech of homeless people and their advocates," Perrin said. Perrin said the city did not prohibit the recent march at City Hall by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse. Bill Brennan, spokesman for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, declined comment yesterday. Reach Curtis Lum at email@example.com. *fair use* RESPONSE from homeless activist Jan Lightfoot: The Below editorial has gone to the Honolulu newspaper. I Am sure If we on this list can send enough editorials to enough newspapers across this land we can start an conomical civil ights Discussion. Dear Editor: "A Real Victory For the Homeless" is a misleading title for an article. A true Victory would be to give the underpaid, and homeless a Voice. I am an advocate against homelessness and poverty in Maine. I am personally suing the State of Maine for bad oversight of Town welfare. Its also entitled General Asssitance In Maine. This can have an impact on Honolulu as well as in Bangor Maine, where it is filed in US District Court. In my book, reporters in this supposingly free land of ours are too busy protecting the status quo, claiming "Victory, when its just avoiding defeat of libertities, toi cover how govbernment imposes its whim. When means laws are dismissed, its not a true victory. Its only that Human Rights Abuse will not be tolerated. A real lasting victory would simply be "That there is No More Homelessness., Nor Poverty." This will happen when reporters are brave enough to cover the real news according to the poor. Not when the reporters of this world continues to be puppets of government. Jan LightfootLane 207/4532353 Fairfield ME. *fair use*