15 people responded to our Call to a Vigil/Signholding in front of Iolani Palace to
Demand Justice for Sheldon Haleck on very short notice. A small memorial was set up and our signs lined King Street during rush hour
Many commuters honked their horns; a few stopped their cars to ask what had happened; several pedestrians stopped to talk, thank us, or tell about their own experiences with police brutality.
We also heard some potentially important new information. According to someone who was within several hundred yards of the killing but did not personally see Sheldon get tased,, Sheldon was "dragged from the street" rather than "escorted," as the HPD report claimed, and several people he had spoken with overheard conversations between the police immediately after Sheldon was tased saying they were "worried that the woman cop who tased Sheldon had tased him too long." At this point facts are still sketchy, but while we held signs we couldn't help but note that there were a number of surveillance cameras in the vicinity that might hold important information.
A Press Release was sent to members of Hawai`i's media; only Channel 9 came out. The photographer took a lot of pictures, but we haven't seen any coverage. However, we do have the power of the social media - if we utilize it. Put pictures of Sheldon Haleck on facebook. Spread the picture of the memorial everywhere. Call the press. And get ready for April 14! As we said in our Press Release:
We Say NO MORE! World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i calls on the people of Hawai`i to demand the truth about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheldon Haleck.
We challenge the media to vigorously investigate the actions of the HPD and to refuse to parrot police reports and attempts to vilify victims of police brutality and murder. We challenge the people of Hawaii to stand with the victims of police brutality and create an atmosphere where families can talk openly about their loved ones, and where witnesses of police brutality can step forward to tell the truth. In the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, people across the U.S. righteously stood up against police murder and brutality, the targeting of Black and Brown people, and the lack of prosecution of the police for their crimes.
People of different races and nationalities, and from all walks of life, joined together to say, “We Can't Breathe,” in solidarity with those being victimized. Through many different forms of protest and resistance, the entire society was finally forced to confront this burning injustice. Meanwhile, murder by police continues unchecked.
In the last 8 months HPD has killed at least 5 unarmed Hawai`i residents. Hawai`i has one of the highest rates of police murder and brutality in the U.S.
The epidemic of police murder and brutality must end! NOW!
On April 14 we wo;; be joining with people across the U.S. calling for a Shut Down to Stop Murder (#ShutDownA14). Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net to connect with the growing movement against police murder, brutality and mass incarceration!