The Tragic Killing of Kollin Elderts by Christopher Deedy Echoes Trayvon Martin Case

Christopher Deedy: On trial for the murder of Kollin Elderts

Christopher Deedy: On trial for the murder of Kollin Elderts

Exclusive to The Daily Banter – by David Harada Stone:

While the country was transfixed last month by the Florida trial and verdict in the George Zimmerman case, another high-profile murder trial was getting underway 5,000 miles to the west, in Honolulu. The two cases have more in common than sunny locales. Like Zimmerman’s trial for the shooting of young Trayvon Martin, the Hawaii trial of Christopher Deedy for the shooting of Kollin Elderts raises questions about race, guns and self defense.

The victims in both cases were young, unarmed men of color. The shooters in both cases claim they acted in self-defense, or in the defense of others. But there is one big difference: While Zimmerman is a cop wannabe and self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, the defendant now on trial in Hawaii is a federal law enforcement officer.

Deedy, now 29 and 27 at the time of the shooting, is an agent for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. State Department. In November 2011, Deedy, a resident of Arlington, Va., was assigned to help provide security at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Honolulu, an event attended by President Obama and heads of state from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. As you would expect, security for the conference was extremely tight, with checkpoints set up in Waikiki to monitor the flow of cars and pedestrians past the luxury hotels playing host to presidents and premiers.

elderts

Kollin Elderts: Hawaii’s Trayvon Martin?

But Elderts’ shooting had nothing to do with the security of foreign dignitaries. Deedy, who is white, was with friends at a Waikiki McDonalds early on the morning of Nov. 5 after a night of bar hopping. The agent, dressed in shorts, slippers and a dress-shirt with rolled up sleeves, and packing a 9 mm Glock, had words with the Elderts, who was a brown-skinned part-Hawaiian local. The exchange escalated into a physical fight, with Deedy kicking Elderts, Elderts punching Deedy and the two wrestling on the floor. Deedy ultimately pulled out his gun and fired three shots, one of which struck Elderts in the chest, killing him.

Unlike authorities in Sanford, Florida, who waited weeks before charging Zimmerman and then did so only after critics suggested police and prosecutors were ignoring the case because Trayvon Martin was an African-American, Honolulu police arrested Deedy on the morning of the shooting. Prosecutors quickly charged him with second degree murder. He was freed on $250,000 bail and allowed to return to Arlington until his trial, which began in early July. If convicted, Deedy faces a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Deedy’s attorneys unsuccessfully sought dismissal of the charges on the ground that he was acting within the course and scope of his duties as a federal agent at the time of the shooting, but the State Department itself has been quiet about the case. Of course, the Department has had enough problems lately without worrying about Deedy, coming under fire for security lapses at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi – site of a terror attack in September 2012 that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens – and a report by the State Department’s Inspector General detailing allegations of misconduct in Deedy’s agency, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (formerly the Diplomatic Security Service), including sexual assault, prostitution and drug use.

A federal judge denied Deedy’s request to remove the case to federal court, which might have permitted a change of venue to a federal district court outside Hawaii. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision.

The prosecution’s theory of the case is that Deedy was the aggressor and that inexperience and alcohol led the off-duty agent to pick a fight with Elderts and then shoot him. The defense alleges that Elderts was the aggressor and that Deedy was acting as a law enforcement officer in defense of himself and others when he shot Elderts.

Unlike Florida, Hawaii is not a “stand your ground” state. A resident has no duty to retreat on the resident’s own property and can use deadly force against an intruder committing a violent felony or wielding a weapon inside the resident’s home. But out in public, a person must make every reasonable attempt to extricate himself from a confrontation before resorting to deadly force. That’s the theory anyway. However, once a homicide defendant has produced evidence to raise self defense as an issue, Hawaii law, like the law in Florida and most other U.S. states, places the burden on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self defense.

While Zimmerman is the only person alive who knows exactly what led to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, the events culminating in Elderts’ shooting were witnessed by several people, including friends of Elderts and Deedy, other customers at the McDonalds that morning, and restaurant employees. There is also a videotape recorded by the restaurant’s security cameras, although it is not conclusive. You can watch the tape below – the relevant section is at 24:00 - 28:00. At 24:00 the three men at the counter, from left to right, are Medeiros, Elderts and Perrine. After Elderts, in the plaid shirt, goes to sit down, Deedy, in the shorts and collared shirt, walks to the tanle to talk to him. Things take off from there:

The issue of race came up early in the trial. Ben Finkelstein, a State Department security agent who traveled to Honolulu with Deedy, testified that he has relatives in Hawaii and had told Deedy about tensions between “locals” and “haoles,” or whites, cautioning him to stay away from certain places at night. Finkelstein said Deedy responded that he intended to carry his gun with him while in Hawaii.

According to witnesses, Elderts caught Deedy’s attention because he was verbally harassing another white customer at the Waikiki McDonalds on the morning of the shooting. The customer, Michael Perrine, testified that he had been drinking before coming to the restaurant and did not remember much about the exchange with Elderts while the two were standing at the McDonalds counter.  “The only word that sticks out is ‘haole,”’ he said.

“Haole” is a Hawaiian word often used by locals – including many Hawaii-born whites themselves – to refer to Caucasians of European descent (with the exception of local-born persons of Portuguese descent, a distinction rooted in plantation era class differences). Sometimes it is used merely in a benign descriptive sense, the everyday local equivalent of “white.”  At other times, the word can be a slur conveying scorn, resentment or hostility. Distinguishing a speaker’s meaning can be difficult for newcomers and tourists. The difference can be subtle, sometimes just a matter of intonation. Other times it is easier, such as when a local refers to a white person as a “fucking haole.” (The etymology of the word “haole” is disputed, with some Hawaiian scholars claiming its original meaning was “without breath,” and referred to the greeting or prayer practices of early European immigrants, while some linguists claim the word simply means foreigner or outsider).

Perrine said he “shrugged off” Elderts’ comments, didn’t feel threatened or in need of help, and just walked away.  Perrine testified that he saw Deedy go over to Elderts’ table and start talking to him. He also saw them latter grappling and Deedy falling to the floor. Perrine said he caught a glimpse of Deedy’s gun holstered under his shirt. “It was scary,” he said.

Alexander Byrd, another customer in the McDonalds that morning and a former U.S. Marine, said he tried to defuse the argument between Deedy, Elderts and Elderts’ friend Shane Medeiros, but that Deedy’s friend, Adam Gutowski, lunged at Elderts. According to Byrd, Elderts pushed Gutowski aside. Gutowski and Medeiros later fought. Byrd said he heard Deedy twice mumble to Elderts, “I’m going to shoot you in the face.” Byrd said Elderts then punched Deedy in the face, knocking him down. The agent got up, threatened Elderts again, and pulled out his gun, Byrd testified.

According to Byrd, Deedy fired one shot before Deedy and Elderts scuffled on the floor. Byrd said he saw the gun in Deedy’s hand and observed Elderts on top straddling the agent and trying to pin back his hands. Byrd said he ran outside the restaurant at this point. Fellow Marine Assan Jobe, who was with Byrd at the restaurant, testified that he saw Deedy kick Elderts, after which the two got into a fist fight. He said he saw Deedy get up from the floor and draw his gun. Like Byrd, Jobe said he left he restaurant after the first shot, but added that he heard a second shot while he was exiting.

The coroner retrieved one bullet from Elderts’ body, and police found two bullets in the walls of the restaurant. The prosecution contends that Deedy killed Elderts with his second shot, before they ended up scuffling on the floor, while the defense contends that the third shot was the fatal one and that Deedy shot Elderts in self defense while they were grappling on the floor, with Elderts trying to take away Deedy’s gun.

Gutowski, a Hawaii resident and Deedy’s onetime college roommate on the mainland, testified that after Deedy’s kick he tried to stop Elderts from approaching the agent, but Elderts punched him in the head. Gutowski said he was “severely beaten” by Elderts and Medeiros.

Medeiros testified that he never heard Deedy identify himself as a federal agent or show Elderts a badge or identification. Medeiros claimed that Elderts had only been joking with Perrine, the customer he allegedly harassed, and that he had explained as much to Deedy.

Gutowski testified that Deedy ordered five beers at bars in Honolulu’s Chinatown and in Waikiki before they ended up at the McDonalds. Like Medeiros, Gutowski did not recall Deedy identifying himself to Elderts as a law enforcement officer.  However, Gutowski’s girlfriend at the time, Jessica West, testified that she saw Deedy pull out his wallet, flip it open, and show it to Elderts. She said Elderts reacted angrily to the gesture.

West also disputed the testimony of other witnesses who said Deedy appeared to be drunk. She said he did not seem to be under the influence when they went to the McDonalds.

Deedy refused to take a breathalyzer test when he was processed at the police station. One of the primary detectives in the case testified that he did not find out about the refusal until he returned to the station about nine hours after the shooting. He said it would have taken another three to five hours to get a search warrant to compel a blood test, by which time the test results would have been unreliable. An autopsy revealed that Elderts had marijuana, alcohol and trace amounts of cocaine in his system at the time of the shooting.

The Deedy trial, which resumes this week, has not had the polarizing effect in Hawaii that the Zimmerman trial and verdict have had across much of the mainland. A small group of protesters marched past the site of the APEC conference a few days after the shooting to demand justice for Elderts, but Deedy’s quick arrest and the subsequent murder charge mostly defused the public reaction to the shooting.

Hawaii is probably the most racially and ethnically diverse state in the nation. According to the  Census Bureau, Hawaii’s population of 1.39 million (the 40th largest out of 50 states) in 2012 was 38.3 percent Asian, 26.1 percent white (22.8 percent non-Hispanic white), 23 percent mixed race, 10.1 percent native Hawaiian and other Pacific islanders, 9.5 percent Hispanic and 2.1 percent black. Interracial families are extremely common in Hawaii, maybe even the norm. Many part-Hawaiians are also of European and/or Asian ancestry.

The racial and ethnic backgrounds of the 12 jurors and two alternates hearing the Deedy trial have not been publicly disclosed. One media report described eight of them as “local” (which could mean Hawaiian, part-Hawaiian or other mixed race) or Asian, while six appear to “pull Caucasian.” The jury is made up of nine men and five women.

Some commentators have questioned whether Deedy can receive a fair trial in Hawaii, a query fraught with irony for students of Hawaii history. One of the darkest episodes in Hawaii’s post-annexation history began in 1931, after a jury deadlocked in the trial of five young local men charged in the rape of Thalia Massie, the daughter of a wealthy and politically-connected Washington, D.C. couple. Before prosecutors could decide whether to retry the suspects — the evidence was sketchy and the alleged victim’s story full  of inconsistencies — Massie’s family, including her mother, and supporters, including several sailors stationed on Oahu, took the law into their own hands. They kidnapped and beat one of the defendants and murdered another. Honolulu police captured the vigilantes with the naked corpse of the dead man, Joseph Kahahawai, wrapped in a sheet in the back seat of their car. These events garnered a massive amount of national publicity for the time, with mainland politicians and media overwhelmingly siding with Kahahawai’s murderers. Liberal icon Clarence Darrow (of Scopes “monkey trial” fame) signed on to defend Kahahawai’s killers, who,were nonetheless convicted of manslaughter. Although the conviction carried a mandatory 10-year prison sentence, the white territorial governor commuted the sentence to one hour, which the killers spent in the governor’s office.  The Massie case, as it is known, has come to symbolize the oppression of Hawaiians and other groups by a racist white regime in the islands during the period between annexation and statehood.

Besides comprising a majority of Hawaii’s transient population of active duty military members and dependents, whites have historically been overrepresented in Hawaii’s corporate board rooms, law firms, academia, the media and such prestigious private schools as Punahou, Barack Obama’s alma mater. Hawaiians (a term reserved in Hawaii for people of Hawaiian blood, i.e., the descendants of the indigenous population living in the Islands before European contact, or kānaka maoli) and other Pacific islanders (mostly Samoans and Tongans), have long suffered from higher rates of poverty, incarceration and dependence on public assistance than other groups in Hawaii. However, there are many prominent Hawaiians in business, politics and law. Admission to the Kamehameha Schools, which has the largest endowment of any private secondary school in the United States, is limited almost exclusively to children of native Hawaiian ancestry.

While socioeconomic and cultural differences can sometimes be a source of tension between whites and other racial and ethnic groups in Hawaii (some people insist that “kill haole day,” a day supposedly set aside at the end of the school year for local kids to harass white kids, is, or at least was, real, others maintain it is an urban myth; having attended public schools in Hawaii from kindergarten through high school myself, I can only say that I never experienced it), Hawaiians and whites also have history to divide them. Haole businessmen, some the descendants of early Christian missionaries, orchestrated a coup in 1893, overthrowing Hawaii’s queen with the tacit support of the American Minister to Hawaii and a detachment of U.S. Marines. The Marines never fired a shot, but their deployment dissuaded Queen Liliuokalani from mounting any resistance. The coup disenfranchised most Hawaiians and set the stage for U.S. annexation five years later. This injustice is familiar to Hawaii school children and is commemorated not only in history books but in local literature and song.

Still, it’s unlikely that many bar fights or other altercations between Hawaiians and white servicemen or tourists are fueled primarily by a sense of historical grievance so much as by cultural conflicts and testosterone.  Serious incidents of racially motivated violence in Hawaii do happen, but they are relatively rare. Nor are whites the only victims.

It is possible to grow up white in Hawaii without ever experiencing racially motivated violence. I did. I can’t speak for all local haoles, but in my experience avoiding interracial or interethnic conflict is mostly about displaying respect, cultural sensitivity and common sense. Of course, assholes come in all colors, and some are immune to reason. More often then not, though, they can be avoided.

Beyond race, the Deedy case raises questions about guns and how they can turn a contentious situation into a deadly one. If Zimmerman has not been packing, it is likely that both he and Trayvon Martin would have walked away from their encounter unharmed, or maybe with a few scrapes and bruises (Zimmerman’s insistence that a sidewalk constituted a “deadly weapon” notwithstanding). Whatever the jury’s verdict, it seems likely that had Deedy not been armed on the morning of Elderts’ shooting, events would have evolved differently. At worst, maybe police would have broken up another drunken brawl (not an uncommon occurrence in the early morning hours in Waikiki). Or maybe the parties would have exchanged a few harsh words and things would have ended with no one having suffered anything worse than a bruised ego.

Hawaii has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. A permit is required to acquire both long guns and handguns. All firearms must be registered, and concealed carry permits are generally only issued to law enforcement officers and retirees and some private security personnel.  Open carry is not permitted (except for hunters with permits). Carrying a loaded firearm outside one’s home, place of business, hunting area or shooting range without a permit, whether concealed or not, including in a vehicle, is a felony.  As a result of these laws, and Hawaii’s geographic isolation from states with more lenient firearms laws, gun violence in Hawaii is rare and gun deaths even rarer.

The National Rifle Association’s push for concealed carry reciprocity at the federal level could change all this. In a self-serving perversion of the right-wing group’s usual “states’ rights” mania, The NRA wants Congress to require all 50 states to respect concealed carry permits issued by other states, potentially turning the whole country into a free fire zone. If nothing else, Elderts’ shooting by a federal law enforcement officer, presumably better trained than the average gun owner in how to defuse a confrontation, should make clear the folly of such a change in he law.

If the NRA ever does succeed in its efforts to export the gun insanity prevalent across parts of the mainland to my island home, this white boy will probably be among the first to mutter “fucking haoles” under my breath. Or maybe even out loud.

  • Monkeywrench542 .

    I know this much as well, the FBI, DEA, the military and the secret service should be the only part of the federal government that should be armed at all.

  • TheCadillacsteve .

    well i’ve posted here twice and the site will not post my comments which were critical of the article. I guess thay feel printing biased articles full of factual errors and then censoring the comments makes for good journalism. To each his own i guess.

  • TheCadillacsteve .

    I feel that this article has twisted the facts to reflect the authors own bias. I prefer to read unbiased accounts from journalists who have integrity.

  • TheCadillacsteve .

    David Harada Stone. You have pathetically twisted nearly every fact of this event to fit your premise. A premise which does nothing but try and incite more racism is disgraceful. You should be ashamed to call yourself a journalist. This site which posts your rubbish should be shut down as should you. This is a very complex case and you try to make it a simple matter of race to appeal to the lowest denominator. Good journalists build integrity on the unbiased truths they report.

  • Sadie Legrande

    They’re not the same. Two totally different cases. The only 2 similarities are that a gun was involved and both cases had a wannabe law enforcement officer. But other than that not much are similar.

  • Jessie

    Waikiki is for tourists. Some locals come here looking for trouble and cause trouble for tourists. Hawaii would be sunk without tourists dollars. If the locals here don’t like the tourists, they should stay clear of Waikiki. They don’t own it and Hawaii needs the revenue which is much greater than per capita than some of these trouble makers contribute to the economy. Have respect for our visitors and show them Aloha.

    • Respect

      Local people need the “vacationers.” $ in our state. Residents need them. However the residents here do not need the attitude . Racists in Hawai’i is caused by the vacationers. The upbringing from the local residents are different from the foreigners that visit our islands. Aloha goes both ways it is not a one way word. And of course Hawai’i is now made up of half breed, part Hawaiian residents. So, really now! Hawai’i people are not racists people! We all have the foreigners blood in us. This is what they did to the local people and now want to be called the “VICTIM”.

      • Sadie Legrande

        Yes they are racist. I’m part Hawaiian myself and I can say most of the racist attitudes fall on the people who live there. Respect does go both ways but it doesn’t seem to apply to people who live there. It seems the law is biased and helps the locals more. I have also been targeted by people there when I lived there because I defended a white family who was visiting the state. The family did nothing to deserve what happened to them and yet these two belligerent thugs threatened them, destroyed some of their property and told them if they didn’t leave Hawaii now they’d destroy their property some more. Did the thugs get arrested or in trouble? Nope the police officers did nothing and said the two locals acted reasonably. Reasonably? Really? Even after I told them what actually happened. What was the officers response to me, visitors have no rights if they’re not Hawaiian. So don’t sit behind your computer screen and say that they aren’t racist. Hawaii is one of the most racist states. Also no, they did nothing to the local people. Locals just think they’re above the law.

        • Respect

          Sorry to hear about your encounters. Sad to say that if you are part Hawaiian, then you are part of this terrible attitude.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Most of the racist attitude. I never said all. It’s just anywhere else in the world. The host are going to show dislike and a certain hatred for outsiders or visitors.

          • Respect

            In regards to Deedy not Host or locals. At best, he wanted to show off and be somebody in front of his drinking friends. He was packing and he knew it. It wasn’t about white or black. Race or non-racist. Both were immature. Their youth and inexperience paid the price.
            Because Hawai’i is unique with many racists. It is unfair to say the HOST will be showing dislike or certain HATE to outsiders or visitors. Shame on you. If you are part-Hawaiian.

          • Sadie Legrande

            It isn’t unfair. It’s called fact. You go anywhere that you’re an outsider and visitor and the host or locals will show hostility. But you’re obviously closeminded so I’m not expecting you to understand this. Plus it’s so easy to say Deedy was showing off to his friends. Yet hardly anyone paid attention to the fact Elderts was a coke head. Was anybody talking about Medeiros when he got involved either? No. Their government is biased. No sympathy for someone who does drugs, starts a fight and then loses. It’s his own fault. But you’re right about one thing though, both were mature. Elderts just a tad bit more.

          • Respect

            Both are immature not mature. Obviously you love misery and negative than wanting positive and good. Life can be enjoyable not depressing. Relax and get f..k! Why keep saying government biased? Are you mad or angry at the government? Get a grip lady. F..k that shit! Who gives the attention to the wrong entity. SMILE! Don’t let life give you lemons. Make lemonade and drink it. Don’t be a debby downer, CHANGE and back it up. IT’S ALL GOOD….SO WHAT is important to you? Make significant changes and enjoy this bitchin life. The sun shines every day, so we can have a new beginning. Create good stuff. Me, I’m not closeminded, I could give a fuck! My law degree, makes me feel this way all the time, ANGRY FUCKER.

          • Sadie Legrande

            First of all, what the fuck are you talking about, read my comment again you idiot. I did say immature. Second, because their government is biased. You know why locals are kept out of prison when they commit crimes against visitors? Because they share this shitty belief that visitors have no rights if they’re not Hawaiian, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it just because I defended white families. Hawaii isn’t as much of a paradise if you actually met the people there. Lastly, who said I’m angry or that I love misery? Why because I’m not agreeing with you? Or is that I have a mind of my own and I’m not easily fooled by this laid back and loving facade that Hawaii has been hiding behind? So explain to me how I love misery. Hawaii wouldn’t even be where they’re at now with technology and advancements in medicine if they didn’t have the influence of the white man. Again this is coming from someone who has Hawaiian ancestry.

          • Respect

            Ha ha. Q

          • Respect

            Their government is biased. Are you not part of their government? You did say, that you are part-Hawaiian, right? Who cares about the crimes and prison against visitors? Were you a visitor, once before you became part-Hawaiian. Does the shitty beliefs come from you, the part-Hawaiian and your people! Nice of you defending the white people. Thank you! I love Hawai’i. It is paradise in my mind. I rather live here than where I’m from. The people that I come into contact is local and I came across nice ones and ASSHOLES! But, I am cool with all. Technology and medicine is because of history and changes not because of the visitor. Hey you, rachet bitch, who cares if you have Hawaiian ancestry. Hawaiian people need to be humble not loud and stupid. Hawaiian culture and people have traditions to be proud of and they are blessed. Why are you so angry. Love and embrace people and accept that people like yourself will argue a cause with emotion. I apologize for you being angry at your kind of people. But, that is them not you. Treat the cause not the effect.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Wow you’re retarded. So because I’m part Hawaiian I have to adhere to their shitty beliefs? I don’t live in Hawaii anymore. Nice try. What the fuck are you talking about. I was born in Hawaii. I was never a visitor, I was BORN in Hawaii. If you actually read my comments instead of making false ideologies you’d know what I actually said. Nope if you knew anything about Hawaiian history you’d know that most rejected the idea of technology. And they rejected medicine that wasn’t indigenous. Most of the companies in Hawaii that sell goods to people are transported from the mainland. With the exception of maybe food. Also at one point in your response you seem to be changing your story. And, again why do you keep incorrectly assum that I’m angry? How do you know that I’m angry? Because I’m not agreeing with you? Why don’t you do your research and stop being biased with your information. Stop being a closeminded uneducated fuck. I’m embarrassed for you. Nothing you said so far carries any weight. You only accuse me of being mad. And from past history it doesn’t look like it helped your argument.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Wow you’re retarded. So because I’m part Hawaiian I have to adhere to their shitty beliefs? I don’t live in Hawaii anymore. Nice try. What the fuck are you talking about. I was born in Hawaii. I was never a visitor, I was BORN in Hawaii. If you actually read my comments instead of making false ideologies you’d know what I actually said. Nope if you knew anything about Hawaiian history you’d know that most rejected the idea of technology. And they rejected medicine that wasn’t indigenous. Most of the companies in Hawaii that sell goods to people are transported from the mainland. With the exception of maybe food. Also at one point in your response you seem to be changing your story. And, again why do you keep incorrectly assuming that I’m angry? How do you know that I’m angry? Because I’m not agreeing with you? Why don’t you do your research and stop being biased with your information. Stop being a closeminded uneducated fuck. I’m embarrassed for you. Nothing you said so far carries any weight. You only accuse me of being mad. And from past history it doesn’t look like it helped your argument.

  • Mikey

    I lived in Hawaii in 07 and recall a soldier being nearly beaten to death and his wife seriously hurt, over a parking lot fender bender (while their kids were in the car, no less). So, there are plenty of bad brown people in HI who don’t like whitey and will use any excuse to make trouble. It is the only place that I know where racial slurs are accepted by nearly everyone in the community, with one or another flimsy excuse. Hawaii needs to get with this century and wake the hell up. Don’t know whether Deedy was right or wrong, but I wish he had been in that parking lot in 2007.

    • Respect

      It’s all about respect for others and their properties! Why put yourself to be the victim. No one wants problems or have negativity! Just have some common sense and walk the f_ _ _ _ away. Trouble can sometimes follow you if you always play the victim. Why, fall prey to angry souls. Victims may do more harm than good and the rest of your life may perhaps be over.

      • Sadie Legrande

        Don’t locals play the victims too? All I hear is how much they were somehow screwed over by the white man. Or make up excuses of tourists doing them wrong. There are times where locals do go around starting confrontations simply because they feel they’re immune to the law. Both Deedy and Elderts were wrong. Both were acting like belligerent f.ucks unfortunately it resulted in the death of one of them. Deedy ISN’T guilty of murder. He is however guilty of manslaughter. He acted recklessly which resulted in the death of another person. This is just another case of ‘let’s point fingers and blame everyone’.

        • Respect

          The sentence is “NO ONE wants problems.” In other words, don’t set yourself up to be the VICTIM! You have options. And, if you choose otherwise, so be it. No one marking one or the other about being local or tourist. We are ALL equal no matter what. No pointing fingers or blaming one another. The choice is ours to make. Shut up and walk the f___k away.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Then by your logic Elderts should have done the same thing. He didn’t. He made the choice of being a coked out dickhead and paid for it. The people of Hawaii do. Why do you think they start shit with tourists? Because they think they can hide behind their biased government. Your comment contradicts itself. Shut up and walk the fuck away. Tell that to the locals who pick fights then. Because they never walk away.

          • Respect

            Wow ! Now , now…..you sound real angry. And you are part Hawaiian. Stupid does what stupid do. Play the victim.

          • Sadie Legrande

            Nope. Just sick and tired of them starting fights with tourists then hide behind their government. And? Just because I’m part Hawaiian doesn’t mean I have to adhere to their idiotic behavior.

          • Brukout Angel

            Sadie, I think u only have Hawaiian in your big toenail. Just peel it off and you won’t be Hawaiian anymore since you hate yourself so much. And don’t worry, the Hawaiian people won’t miss u and if they knew who you were, they wouldn’t claim you either. And NEVER tell anyone ever again that you’re Hawaiian.

            I’m not Hawaiian, but I grew up in Hawaii. People don’t have the poor attitude that YOU have over here. It’s generally understood that people from the mainland come here and think they’re owed everything. THey’re rude, they complain about everything and are culturally insensitive. And yes, there is a sort of reverse racism in Hawaii—locals vs whitey. And the locals constitute a MYRIAD of different ethnicities (Filipinos, Japanese, Samoans, Tongans, Portuguese, Chinese and so many others—not just Hawaiians). But for the most part, the locals aren’t the aggressors. Unfortunately, locals anticipate poor behavior from loud mouth tourists and they retaliate.

          • Sadie Legrande

            And you know this how? I am Hawaiian. Whether you accept this fact has no bearing on its truth. Making up ridiculous assumptions based on nothing is nonsensical. I know the only reason you made that assumption is because I’m not agreeing with you or respected. You’re desperate because you never had a point to say, but to run your mouth of asinine crap. My biological mother and father both were part Hawaiian. So unless you can prove that I’m not Hawaiian I’m going to assume you’re just trolling. I’m also Cuban, Chinese, Hungarian, Norwegian, Belgian, Filipino and Irish. Can you also magically disprove that because I disagree with you in my comments? But again my ethnicity has nothing to do with my views. And I’m supposed to care if people accept me how? Really? Then you didn’t grow up Hawaii. If you honestly believe that people in Hawaii aren’t either racist or ignorant then you must be living in a fantasy world. For the most part locals aren’t the aggressors? Now I know you’re trolling. I know for a fact that not everybody in Hawaii or not even most aren’t the aggressors? That’s pure horse shit.

          • Brukout Angel

            Relaaaaaax. No need to get angry and start cussing. I never said people in Hawaii weren’t racist. I said they were–and with good reason. My exact words were, “there is a sort of reverse racism in Hawaii–locals vs. whitey.” There are several military bases on Oahu, and so we are SURROUNDED by rude people from the mainland with elitist attitudes– starting fights in our neighborhoods, with our children, and always running off at the mouth as if they know everything– among MANY other things. It’s obvious you weren’t raised in Hawaii. You don’t know anything about the situation here or why people from the mainland aren’t always welcomed with open arms. What happened to you and your friends was unfortunate, but it was an isolated incident for YOU. People like me who actually LIVE in Hawaii have to deal with MANY incidents like that as a result of having to live near so many military people from the mainland and rude tourists alike. You keep whining and making a big deal about that one incident that happened to you and you’re still pissed off about it. Me on the other hand, I have to live with transplants with terrible attitudes like YOU every day. So stop whining and peel off your toenail.

          • Sadie Legrande

            How is racism in Hawaii for a good reason? Hahaha what? Is that what you think? So the locals never start fights over petty and stupid shit like someone’s skin color? Why shouldnt I be upset? The local thugs only targeted them because they were white. Would it be ok if I targeted the Jews for being Jews, or blacks for being blacks or spic for a spic or beaner for being a beaner? No that’s complete horse shit. Hawaii is just so good and playing the victim. I see you still can’t prove anything you’ve said. Stop using that toe nail comment at this point I doubt you know what it means. Elderts got what he deserved. He acted like some hard ass who thought he was gangsta. He got shot because he held that ignorant attitude. Checkmate. You lose.

          • Brukout Angel

            Again, you don’t understand the mentality here so there’s no use in reiterating what I’ve already said. I HAVE proved my point, you just don’t get it because you’re ignorant. And the only thing you’ve proved is that you don’t know anything about Hawaii.

            Unfortunately, people are targeted because of their race. It’s called racial profiling. Blacks and other people of color get targeted all of the time. Is it fair? HELL NO. But it exists, and people do it on a subconscious level without even knowing it. In Hawaii, it’s generally the white people who get profiled until they learn the way things are done here. Then they’re accepted.

            And no, YOU LOSE. If you think a man deserves to die because his ego got the best of another man’s ego, then what a LOSER you are. What a rachet evil thing to say. NOBODY deserves to be murdered. Yes, Elderts had a bad attitude, but so did Deedy. He walked over to Elderts. He was looking for a fight.

            Hawaii is playing the victim? It’s obvious that you don’t know anything about this place. So stop talking about things you know nothing about.Your biological parents are Hawaiian? Sounds like you don’t know them either. With all of those other races you talk about that are in your blood, it really does sound like only your toenail could be Hawaiian, so just go peel it off and you won’t be Hawaiian anymore. I’m so glad you don’t live here. One less rachet fool to deal with.

          • Sadie Legrande

            No. You haven’t. You continue to make up assumptions about my ethnicity. My mom is Filipino, Hawaiian, Hungarian and Belgian. My father is Hawaiian, Cuban, Chinese, Norwegian and Irish. Not really sure why you’re continuing to try and disprove my ethnicities. So not proof. I know much more than you do. You claim that all the problems are caused by the tourists. That’s complete bullshit. Why should they get profiled? Just because they visit the state? If so that proves my point that locals are hostile. Yes he did deserve to die. He was acting like a belligerent iced out thug. He went searching for a fight and got one. It’s his own fault. Both Deedy and Elderts were wrong. Again come up with some other comment, because trying to incorrectly assume that I’m not Hawaiian because I don’t agree with you is as about as pointless as throwing bologna at a solid wall. Also if that’s the mentality that the locals have I’m glad I left. One last thing it’s funny how the locals in Hawaii oppose the US government but then use that government to spread their racist propaganda.

    • Respect

      I read about that incident in the paper. A small problem became a big problem then escalated into an altercation. Over a parking stall. People all got jacked up for one stupid ass parking stall.
      This kind of incident can happen any where in the world! not only Hawai’i. Again, it’s not about race! It’s about stupidity. Stupid is what stupid does! You have a choice, W A L K! and stay clear from trouble. Life is all so GOOD! Enjoy your one time here on earth. Avoid this kind stupid acts. After walking away call the attention to security or police, then walk far far away from stupidity.

  • Ke’opu Reelitz

    Mahalo for this thoughtful and thorough exploration of some of the historical, political, and social complexities unique to Hawaii that make this case so emotional for many on Oahu – including the Massie trial.

  • Steven Skelton

    I’m with dbtheonly…..the geographic distance between Florida and Hawaii is about the same as the distance between the facts of each case.

    Not that this isn’t interesting…it certainly is…but it doesn’t seem to have much in common with Zimmerman/Martin.

    • Christopher Foxx

      As Ben notes, white guy starts conflict with non-white guy, kills him, and claims self defense. Pretty close parallels.

      • Cathy

        Or would be if Zimmerman were white. Since he’s not I have trouble following you.

        • dbtheonly

          George Zimmerman isn’t white?

          • Sadie Legrande

            He’s White Hispanic.

      • Jason

        The self defense claim is seemingly the only real similarity here. From the testimony, race had nothing to do with the events of the case. Also the idea that Agent Deedy was drunk, started the conflict or threatened the victim is not proven. It’d be interesting to see this article rewritten now after Deedy has taken the stand himself. From all appearances he was able to pretty clearly explain step by step what happened, how it escalated and how, given his position as a law enforcement officer could not walk away after he had identified himself to the Elderts and Elderts responded aggressively and asked him if he was going to shoot him. Its a terrible outcome, but one that could have been avoided had Elderts chosen to respect authority.

        Unlike Zimmerman, this was a clear fight with Deedy having identified himself as an actual law enforcement officer and in the video you clearly see him telling Elderts to stop approaching, but Elderts attacks him anyway. Whereas with Zimmerman, you don’t know what the fight was actually like, here you can actually see what took place.

        • Christopher Foxx

          in the video you clearly see him telling Elderts to stop approaching …

          Small notes: In the silent video you can tell what he said? And

          … here you can actually see what took place

          right up until they move out of frame.

          • Jason

            That’s a fair point, but what I meant was seeing the classic cop stance of arm extended telling the person person to stop and right hand on the hip. That happens just before Eldert’s tackles him out of the frame. I think we all know what that stance implies and for someone to keep advancing on a law enforcement officer in that stance is creating his own outcome.

          • Christopher Foxx

            Oh, I’d tend to interpret that the same way. Just wanted to note that we can’t really say, based on what we get to witness, that he verbally warned Elderts off at all.

        • DHaradaStone

          Actually, the testimony suggests that Elderts’ use of the word “haole,” a word about which Deedy had little understanding, colored Deedy’s perception of the interaction between Elderts and Perrine. When Deedy went over to Elderts’ table, well away from where Perrine was sitting, the interaction between Elderts and Perrine was already over. Perrine testified that he did not feel threatened and did not feel he needed any help. The facts suggest some racial undercurrent in both the interaction between Elderts and Perrine and the interaction between Deedy and Elderts. Beyond that, I did not make a judgment about whether Deedy was intoxicated in my article, but simply noted the conflicting testimony. He admits that he had been drinking before the shooting. He also refused a breathalyzer test. The fact that he can now give cogent testimony does not mean that he was lucid at the time of the shooting. He and his attorney, who is one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Hawaii, clearly spent a good deal of time preparing for his testimony. His testimony may well be entirely truthful. But important parts of it, such as his insistence that he did not threaten to shoot Elderts, are contradicted by the testimony of other eyewitnesses.

  • dbtheonly

    I really don’t see a large connection to Trayvon Martin.

    I see this as an, all too familiar, story of guns & alcohol not mixing.

    • Maike Hudson

      Don’t forget testosterone as part of the deadly mix.

      • dbtheonly

        No argument from me on that. But guns, alcohol, & estrogen can also lead to dire results.

    • Benthedailybanter

      White guy in authority shoots and kills a guy of color after initiating a conflict, then claims self defense – the parallels are pretty obvious, no? There are certainly differences, particularly given there were lots of eye witnesses, but it’s another racially charged case that the country is divided over.

      • dbtheonly

        Ben,

        We can certainly argue the “echoes” in the headline.

        There are some similarities but there are equally major differences. It’s not just the eye-witnesses; it’s the alcohol fuel. It’s the immediate police reaction. It’s the lack of a pursuit.

        No one ever asserted either Martin or Zimmerman were drunk. Zimmerman’s pursuit was a major factor in my understanding of the case.

        I just don’t see this as a “racial profiling” issue. I haven’t seen “the country divided” either.

        Though I will admit that I get concerned anytime Skelton agrees with me.

        • Christopher Foxx

          No one ever asserted either Martin or Zimmerman were drunk.

          I’ve seen claims that Martin was using drugs. None substantiated that I’ve seen, and all coming from the type of folks who believed Martin was asking for it. But the assertions have been there. Another sad commentary on “these types of incidents”.

        • Kizmet Paradigm

          If “zimmermans pursuit was a major factor in your understanding of the case” then you missed whole thing. Swing …and a miss!

          • dbtheonly

            No doubt. I’ve stated several times that I do not understand the cause of the verdict.