LIHUE — Kauai reported three hate crimes in 2013, according to a state Attorney General’s Hate Crimes in Hawaii report.
The report is generated annually by information from county prosecutors. Kauai had zero occurrences for the first 11 years that data has been collected — until this 12th report.
“I believe hate crimes — as defined by law — have always occurred, but we are doing a better job tracking and reporting these incidents in recent years,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.
In 2014, there has been one incident classified as a reportable hate crime, Kollar said. The incident was motivated by racial bias.
There were four hate crime cases reported statewide in 2013. The incidents took place in 2012 but were resolved in 2013.
w The first incident occurred on Kauai on May 4, 2012. A 16-year-old female of Native Hawaiian descent reportedly punched, kicked and pulled the hair of two female victims, ages 12 and 15, while they were on a public bus together. The older girl did not know the victims and made anti-Caucasian statements after the assault.
If an offense is committed by a minor, or if it falls to the level of misdemeanor, it cannot be prosecuted as a hate crime under state law. However, if the prosecutor makes the determination it was motivated by bias, they are obligated to report it to the attorney general.
In this case, the 16-year-old was charged as a juvenile on two counts of third-degree assault, with two other drug and alcohol charges, which were dropped on Feb. 2, 2013. She was sentenced to probation until age 18, and ordered to perform 70 hours of community service, write letters of apology, complete classes on alternatives to violence, complete a substance abuse evaluation, and undergo random drug and alcohol testing.
w The second incident occurred on the Big Island on Nov. 13, 2012, when a 14-year-old Native Hawaiian female approached a female student in their school cafeteria, and said, “This is Micronesian versus Hawaiian Day.” Unprovoked, she repeatedly punched the victim in the face.
The offender was charged as a juvenile for third-degree assault and sentenced to eight months probation, and ordered to write a letter of apology to the victim, pay restitution, undergo a substance abuse evaluation and random drug and alcohol testing, and complete school with no absences.
w The third incident occurred on Kauai on Nov. 17, 2012, when an adult female visiting a hotel restaurant was punched by a 29-year-old Native Hawaiian male, who made anti-Caucasian remarks during the assault. On Nov. 19, 2013, the offender pleaded no contest to a third-degree assault and was sentenced to five days in jail and one year probation, ordered to pay restitution and undergo anger management and substance abuse treatment.
w The fourth incident occurred on Kauai on Dec. 28, 2012, when an adult male victim was grilling food with friends at a beach park when he was approached and assaulted by a 60-year-old Native Hawaiian male who attempted to shove the victim’s face into the grill while making anti-Filipino statements. On July 11, 2013, the offender pleaded no contest to felony second-degree assault and was sentenced to five years in prison, in part for his criminal history.
Under state law, a hate crime is a felony offense when committed by an adult offender. The prosecutor could ask for an additional five years in prison on top of the sentence for the crime.
Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics for the state attorney general, said earlier this year that the law was not meant to make it illegal to register contentious opinions — unless those statements proceed felonious behavior, which adds the hate crime modifier to the existing offense.
A total of 21 hate crime cases were reported to the state from 2002 to 2013 for an average of 1.8 cases per year.
The state hate crime statistics remain consistent with the FBI program with an average of less than one case per participating agency per year, according to the report.