The Kaua‘i Police Department confirmed yesterday that three men present at an Aug. 7 protest of development on a Hawaiian burial ground were arrested last week on suspicion of second-degree trespassing, a petty misdemeanor.
Arrests had been delayed as police worked to identify those that had been on the Ha‘ena property. Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry said the day after the protests that he would be working in conjunction with the County Prosecutor’s Office to secure arrest warrants.
“We looked at photos, talked to the officers on the scene and people who knew them,” Assistant Chief Clayton Arinaga said yesterday. “Based upon that information, we got arrest warrants.”
Officials reported that Andrew Cabebe, 59, of Kilauea, James Hoff, 51, of Kapa‘a, and Harry Fergerstrom, 59, who gave his local address as Pahoa, were arrested on Sept. 5.
At least eight of the roughly 15 protesters, anticipating arrest, intended to link themselves together with self-releasing lock-down devices. However, the more than half-dozen police officers who waited on the street did not make any arrests at that time, instead opting to wait.
“If that’s the channel they have to take, then that’s their decision,” Keli‘i Collier, a spokesman for the protesters, said last month. “They’re going to try to quietly pick us off, one by one, hidden from the view of the public. It’s a new tactic to try to dismember this movement.”
Cabebe said yesterday that the KPD was using the arrests as a scare tactic to keep him and others away from Joseph Brescia’s beachfront subdivision.
“They made me feel really bad, like I was a criminal, a murderer or something,” said Cabebe, who was showering when he saw police approaching his home. “They came in and they were ready to drag me away.”
Still, Cabebe, who said the arrest cost him $50, has already been back to pay his respects.
“I’m going to keep going back,” he said. “I was just trying to do something for people who cannot speak. I’m just there to protect the iwi, my family.”
Attempts to reach Hoff and Fergerstrom were unsuccessful.
More news on the future of the controvertial home construction may come next week, as 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe is expected to rule on a motion for a preliminary injunction that would halt development.
Testimony earlier this month revealed that concrete jackets have already sealed seven iwi impacted by the footprint of the house, and one of two concrete garage slabs has been poured. Concrete footings for the foundation have been in place since mid-August.
Wainiha resident Jeff Chandler, who claims ancestral ties to the land, brought the injunction request in a counterclaim against Brescia and the state Historic Preservation Division, after Brescia sued him and a number of protesters for allegedly trespassing and interfering with construction.
Attorneys for Chandler, Brescia and the state have debated a wide range of procedural issues relating to the discovery and treatment of iwi, as well as the cultural significance of the burials and whether the actions taken actually protect or harm them.
• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org