Police Deny Excessive Force In Maui Solar Telescope Arrests


(AP) — Officers acted appropriately when six people were arrested while trying to block an equipment convoy from reaching a mountain where a solar telescope is being built, Maui police said.

More than 100 protesters — citing the sacredness of Haleakala — tried to block the convoy earlier this week. Some said Maui police officers used unnecessary force on peaceful protesters.

Officials reviewed reports and video of all the arrests, and preliminary findings show that officers acted within department policy and procedure, police said in a news release Thursday.

The protest scene Wednesday at the intersection of Kula Highway and Old Haleakala Highway in Maui.

AP

Protesters said they laid down on the road and connected their arms with PVC pipes to protect Haleakala from desecration. Despite the protests, the convoy made it to the summit and delivered a four-meter mirror system for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. It will be the world’s most powerful solar telescope, telescope officials said. It’s scheduled for completion in 2020.

Police note that one man appeared to lose consciousness after officers forcibly removed him from under a trailer. He pushed past an officer and dove under the trailer of a moving truck, police said. Police identified him as David Prais and said he struggled with officers and refused to obey commands.

This undated booking photo provided by the Maui Police Department shows David Prais who was arrested on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 by Maui, Hawaii police. Officers acted appropriately when Prais and five other people were arrested while trying to block an equipment convoy from reaching a mountain where a solar telescope is being built. More than 100 protesters citing the sacredness of Haleakala, tried to block the convoy. Some said Maui police officers used unnecessary force on peaceful protesters. (Gregg M. Okamoto/Maui Police Department via AP)  - 1x1 - Police Deny Excessive Force In Maui Solar Telescope Arrests

David Prais

AP

“Officers, in the interest of Prais’ safety and the safety of others, took Prais to the ground and tried to handcuff him,” police said. “He tucked his hands under his body and refused to release them, causing officers to forcibly restrain him and pull his arms free in order to handcuff him.”

While waiting for a vehicle to transport him to the police station, he “suddenly appeared to become unconscious,” police said.

Prais couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday.

He was “taken down” by at least five officers and fell on his face on the asphalt, protester Kahala Johnson said Wednesday.

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4 August 2017 9:50 pm
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