Kaua‘i police investigated a case in which a Texas man claimed he was brutally assaulted by local campers at Hanama‘ulu Beach Park in a hate crime between Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
Scanner traffic late Monday night indicated several calls from Hanama‘ulu Beach Park claiming attacks and threats to kill children by “the devil.”
It was not known if police found a gun on James David Fouts, 37, of Arlington, Texas, while he was treated at Wilcox Hospital.
Fouts said the assault occurred after five campers — who had been drinking — lit into him after he objected to being called a “haole.”
Fouts said he came to Kaua‘i on Oct. 1 to find paradise but instead found the ugly side of the aloha spirit, and will fly either to Honolulu or Maui soon before returning home.
“I saw a beautiful island that God built with His two hands,” he said. “But there were some misunderstandings. They don’t know where I started from, where I am at, and where I am going.”
Fouts said he holds no grudges against his assailants, but would, if he could, tell Mainland campers to stay clear of the park.
But a camper from Southern California who asked not to be identified said he has had no problems with local campers there.
“There are good and bad people everywhere you go,” he said.
Ale Quibilan, acting assistant chief for the Kaua‘i Police Department’s Patrol Services Bureau, said the department received three calls about the man’s activities, which were not criminal in nature.
“No criminal activity or criminal complaint was filed,” he said.
Whether the attack was racially motivated cannot be determined because Fouts has not discussed how he sustained his injuries with police, Quibilan said. Fouts said he sustained a broken nose, cuts in his mouth, a cut to his left ankle that has become swollen and a black eye.
“From what the officer tells me, it was more than the guy just falling on some rocks,” Quibilan said. “But he didn’t file a complaint.”
In an interview with The Garden Island, Fouts said he came to Kaua‘i to camp out. Fouts went to the Wal-Mart store in Lihu‘e on Oct. 9. to buy camping equipment. Outside the store, Fouts said he met a man he described as white who invited him to visit a home on Hanama‘ulu Beach and then camp on the shoreline.
After walking from the store to the beach, Fouts said the “guy and his friend and family offered me some drugs and they got drunk.”
Then he claims he was attacked.
“They jumped me and they hit me from all angles,” Fouts said. “One guy hit me with a club and the bridge of my nose broke.”
He said some campers kicked him and a woman hit him with a pipe, knocking him temporarily unconscious.
Responding police officers held the attackers at bay, Fouts said, and an ambulance took him to Wilcox Hospital.
Fouts said he lost his wallet, passport and a birth certificate in the attack, and following treatment at Wilcox, he went back to the beach to collect other goods.
He told TGI the assailants were ready to pounce on him again when he returned, prompting him to swim into the bay and find refuge on the shoreline, where he stayed the night.
When he awoke Tuesday morning and saw some of the campers walking toward him, he jumped into the water again. While swimming to shore, a boater threw rocks at him and hit him with a fishing pole, Fouts said.
He said people hit him with a paddle and metal pipe and tackled him after he reached shore.
He broke free, and on his way up the road to Hanama‘ulu Town, he said a man in a truck threatened him with a knife.
Fouts said once he reached the 7-11 store in Hanama’ulu, a woman called the authorities for help.
Officers came across Fouts at King Kaumuali‘i School at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday. Because of the severity of the injuries, the police officer drove him to Wilcox Hospital for a second round of treatment, the assistant chief said.
In response to additional questioning by police about the injuries, Fouts maintained they came from a fall, Quibilan said.
Later in the week, campers continued to say they acted in self-defense, telling TGI a man terrorized the beach park for 12 hours, walking up and down the beach and ranting about how he was going to kill someone.
“I have two children here. We couldn’t sleep all night because he was out there,” said one woman, who requested anonymity. “When I told him to quit doing what he was doing, he told me he was going to rape me.”
The woman said police officers came down to the beach park three times and “did nothing.”
Quibilan said the officers acted appropriately and were not about to jump in the water to chase Fouts if he had committed no crimes.
“We allow him to swim as long as he wants to,” Quibilan said. “That is his right.”
• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or firstname.lastname@example.org.