Felony charges of assault on a police officer and resisting arrest against County Councilmember Arthur Brun—originally filed by Kauai County authorities—have been dismissed, apparently because they were superseded by Brun’s federal indictment for running an island-wide methamphetamine ring.
The dismissals, which occurred on March 4, were confirmed by online court records and Brun’s attorney in the county matter, Shaylene Iseri. There is no practical change in Brun’s situation. He remains in custody in Honolulu after bail was denied last week following Brun’s entry of a not guilty plea in the federal case.
Meanwhile, a newly revealed motion in the county case provides additional detail of how—and perhaps why—police stopped Brun’s car last Oct. 29, the event that allegedly prompted Brun to flee the scene and was followed two weeks ago by his arrest pursuant to the 10-count federal indictment.
The details are contained in the motion filed by Kauanoe Jackson, a Hawaii County deputy prosecutor. Jackson was assigned the Brun case after Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar recused his office and referred the prosecution to Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors.
The new information emerged on Monday after The Garden Island searched court records for previously undisclosed detail on the case.
Also on Monday, Kauai County spokesperson Sarah Blane confirmed that Brun, who remains a member of the County Council, continues to draw his salary of $5,261.67 per month. Like all county employees, Brun gets his paycheck twice a month, she said.
County officials, including Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, have said that state law and the county charter make it impossible to remove Brun from the body unless he resigns or is convicted of a felony.
He could be impeached, but that process could only be initiated by a paper document petition physically signed by five percent of the county’s registered voters. The charter and state law make no provision for online petitions like one currently online at the website www.change.org. Monday afternoon, the site claimed that 1,685 people have “signed” the document, but it could not be determined how many of them are Kauai County residents or voters.
Jackson’s motion said that Brun was stopped on Rice Street in Lihue by KPD Lt. James Miller. After Brun pulled over, Miller told the councilmember that he had been stopped for having windows that were tinted too dark, the motion said.
Miller, according to the motion, asked Brun for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Brun provided the documents, the motion said. Miller, the motion said, then went to his car to retrieve a device to measure the density of the window tint.
As Miller did so, the motion said, a KPD canine officer who was nearby had his drug dog conduct a check of Brun’s car. Miller, according to Jackson’s motion, was informed by the handler that “there as an alert made on the vehicle.”
The motion said Brun became enraged and yelled at Miller: “You didn’t stop me for tint! This isn’t right!” Miller ordered Brun to turn off the engine in his car and, when Brun refused to do so, the motion said Miller reached in to turn the key himself.
It was at that moment, the motion said, that Brun put the car in “drive” and “floored the accelerator.” The car began to move before Miller could completely withdraw his arm and that the lieutenant was “still partially in the vehicle.” Miller’s shoulder was struck as Brun sped away, according to the motion.
At least two police units gave chase and caught up to Brun near the Kauai Beach Resort off Kuhio Highway.
According to the federal indictment, which was originally filed under seal on Feb. 13, as Brun sped away, he threw a bag containing about a pound of methamphetamines from his car. Police saw the throw occur and recovered the drugs, the indictment charges.
It was not clear why the original traffic stop was conducted by a lieutenant—a police rank that would not normally be involved in routine traffic enforcement. It was also not explained why a drug dog was at the scene immediately after Brun was pulled over. KPD declined to respond to questions about the incident.
A media database search indicated Miller has been assigned to the traffic safety, investigative services and internal affairs units of KPD at various times in his career.
The federal indictment, however, indicates that police and federal law enforcement agencies had Brun under surveillance from June, 2019, until the time of his arrest as they investigated Brun for his alleged involvement in the drug ring. Eleven people were charged in addition to the councilmember.
The indictment said that because Miller was working on the investigation with KPD’s federal partners, he was legally classified as a “Task Force Officer with a federal law enforcement agency.”
Iseri speculated that, because the federal charges of assault on a federal law enforcement officer involve the same traffic stop as the Kauai County indictment, prosecutors decided that the Kauai case no longer warranted expending court resources. The dismissals were entered “without prejudice,” meaning the two chargers could be refiled at the state level if Brun’s federal case fails.
The federal count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
Jackson’s supervisor, Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, declined on Monday to respond to questions about how the dismissal decision was made.