LIHUE — Officials declined to elaborate Saturday on details of the investigation regarding the mayor receiving threats following his veto of Bill 2491 on Thursday.
Kauai County Spokesperson Beth Tokioka said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. didn’t want to comment on the issue, but that the mayor was hopeful everyone could treat each other with aloha and respect “and share their views in a respectful way” regarding the contentious matter.
“He doesn’t want to add fuel to the fire,” she said in a message Saturday. “He trusts the police to do what they have to do and that cooler heads will prevail.”
On Friday, the Kauai Police Department said in a press release it was investigating threats made against government officials and private property owners that are related to the recent decision by Carvalho to veto Bill 2491.
The reported threats came in a number of forms, according to the department.
“We are currently investigating personal threats against Mayor Carvalho that have been made via phone, email, and social media since the Mayor’s announcement to veto Bill 2491,” Police Chief Darryl Perry stated in the release. “We take these threats seriously and are moving forward to identify these individuals.”
It was unclear how many people were reportedly threatened or how many threats were made.
Perry told The Garden Island that while he couldn’t provide details on the investigation, some of the threats included the threat of physical harm.
“Threats included personal physical harm, meaning physically coming in contact with the Mayor to cause injuries,” he wrote in an email Saturday. “There were other types of indirect threats, meaning things like ‘he better watch himself; you can’t hide; we’re going to get you,’”
The press release Friday said that, according to the preliminary investigation, the threats are “the actions of individuals who are not representative of the anti-GMO movement here on Kauai.”
“Our investigation has not shown there is a connection to the pro-bill movement and the people who are leading the charge,” Perry said in the email. “This appears to be, like I said, individuals who are expressing their own ideology; the threats are coming both locally and off-island.”
The department added that should any of the reported threats meet federal statutory requirements, KPD will consult with the FBI to adopt the investigation and prosecute identified suspects at the federal level.
“These are individuals who are unable to control their emotions and are not representative of our community members who are respectful of each other and Mayor Carvalho,” Perry said in the release.