On Saturday December 13th, about 30 people joined a protest against police brutality at Ala Moana Shopping Center. The action was in solidarity with actions in more than 70 cities - including some numbering many thousands.
As soon as the first to people held up signs at the entrance to Ala Moana Park passers-by began stopping to share their own stories. A Puerto Rican man talked about moving from NYC to escape police brutality only to face it on the streets of Honolulu. A Hawaiian woman told about her brother, who was "beaten up" by HPD.
As more people arrived, drivers passing by began honking and giving the thumbs-up - showing how even a small number of people can make a big difference.
At a short rally an attorney described the asphyxiation of of Aaron Torres, a Nanakuli truck driver who called 911 for help because of a mental health problem. When HPD arrived he was thrown to the ground by four cops who then sat on him, pressing his head down and asphyxiating him as he cried out: "I can't breathe." The coroner classified his death as a homicide, the city settled the case for 1.4 million, but the four officers who murdered him are still employed by HPD. Others who came out related their own experiences with police brutality.
After holding signs for about half an hour a group of protesters left for a march around Ala Moana Shopping Center, chanting loudly as people watched from double-decked tour buses, passing cars, and holiday shoppers. As the protesters crossed Atkinson to the front of the Convention Center where people were registering for the Marathon a whistle blew and protesters fell into the intersection for a 4.5 minute die-in (to symbolize the 4-1/2 hrs Michael Brown was left lying in the streets after being murdered. Marchers then proceeded to hold signs at the entrances to Ala Moana Shopping Center, and then finished with another 4.5 minute die-in on Ala Moana Blvd. as they headed back to those still holding signs on the corner,
Hawai`i represents! Stop Police Brutality & Murder everywhere! For coverage of December 13th elsewhere, including some great images, go to: http://www.stopmassincarceration.net