Five arrested following gathering at Kahaluu

  • Five people were arrested for violating Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation after Hawaii Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of a more than 20 people gathering at Kahaluu Beach Park. . (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today file photo)

Five people were arrested for violating Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation after Hawaii Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of a more than 20 people gathering at Kahaluu Beach Park.

At about 5 p.m. Saturday, police responded to the park’s large pavilion to reportedly observe approximately 30 individuals within the large pavilion. Additionally, none of these individuals were wearing masks or social distancing.

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“Upon contact with these individuals, officers attempted to educate these parties on the most recent Governor’s Emergency Proclamation; however, they refused to listen or comply with the officers,” a press release from department reads. “Officers then began to issue citations, where the crowd then became belligerent and hostile.”

Police said officers then requested additional units to their location. Once additional officers were on scene, they began arresting all individuals who were in violation of the emergency proclamation, therefore causing others to disperse.

A total of five people were arrested and charged with five offense each: Violating Ige’s emergency proclamation by gathering in a group of greater than 10, not wearing a mask and failing to maintain social distancing as well as failure to disperse. Bail was set at $6,500 for Gene Tamashiro, 53, of Hilo; Stefanie Nolff, 48, of Keaau; Diane Fischer, 65, of Kailua-Kona; Melody Harris, 60, of Kailua-Kona; and Michaele Medearis, 53, of Holualoa.

Michelle Melendez, organizer of the event, the Hawaii Health Summit, told West Hawaii Today the event was peaceful and the group was about to leave when three officers arrived.

“Then we stayed,” she said via email, adding the department called out 22 cops with 15 cop cars speeding down Alii Drive “with their sirens and lights on. This was not an emergency.

“There were more cops than people by the time all the officers got out of their cars. They were standing there not saying a word to us. Once they all were there they walked toward us and started grabbing people and arresting them,” she said. “They didn’t say a word.”

She claimed the charges the people were arrested on were not laws.

“They were charged with not wearing a mask, not social distancing, gathering with more than 10-people and not dispersing,” said Melendez. “They should have been processed and let go that night but instead had a $6,500 bail. Peaceful people, no weapons, no harm to anyone. We were at a public beach!”

Melendez said the four women had been bailed out while Tamashiro opted to stay until arraignment.

The group met to ask questions regarding the virus, which she said “there is no legitimate proof that the virus is terribly lethal,” adding that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “only 6% of the deaths attributable to the virus have actually been ‘caused by’ the virus and the remainder of the deaths are attributable to two or more underlying comorbidities.”

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“The past 5-months have proven that the health care system in Hawaii is not at risk of being overwhelmed, nor is there an imminent threat of death and damage which would justify further emergency declarations,” she wrote. “The fact that between 2016 and 2019 somewhere between 300 to 500 persons per year have died of “flu like“ symptoms in Hawaii compared to some 60 persons claimed to have died from the virus in 2020 clearly demonstrates that there is more going on here than dealing with a public health threat or crisis.”

In response Melendez says the group is starting a “peaceful Hawaii Freedom Walk” on Saturdays at 3 p.m. along Queen Kaahumanu Highway, near Henry Street, in Kailua-Kona, “to protest this action as well as the unlawful mandates. We will be 6 feet apart in silence with our signs. To learn more go to http://Hawaiifreedomwalk.com.”

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