State, Anti-TMT Leaders Condemn Social Media Threats

Sep 13, 2019

Top state leaders are denouncing threatening social media posts directed at Hawaii law enforcement officers involved in the standoff over the Thirty Meter Telescope. Organizers of the anti-TMT demonstration also condemned the language. 

Officials,  including Governor David Ige and Attorney General Claire Connors, said that misinformation and violent threats are being directed at state employees and law enforcement officers over social media.

They cited posts and comments on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, including one offering a 5-thousand dollar reward for the identity of a law enforcement officer involved in the removal of an unpermitted structure near Pu’u’hulu’hulu.

Attorney General Connors condemned the posts, but stopped short of calling them criminal.

We've been very clear to say that there is a lawful expression of speech and then there's unlawful conduct. And if the evidence there clearly shows an intent to threaten someone or to impact the ability of a public servant to engage in their Public Service duties, that can raise the level of a crime," Connors said.

The state's top lawyer also shared that some state employees have also received threatening voicemails after their personal phone numbers were released online.

Andre Perez, a leader of the anti-TMT movement, disavowed the actions, saying that leaders of the Protect Mauna Kea group could not take responsibility for the actions of individuals acting independently on social media.

“We're in agreement with the governor's office and with some general messaging that we do not support violent language, aggression. We do not support putting out a call for bounties. We do not support doxing and putting out public info so that people can be exposed. We are against that,” Perez told reporters. 

Perez reaffirmed the movement’s commitment to kapu aloha and non-violence. Governor Ige stated that he remains committed to peaceful dialogue and will continue efforts to engage with the protesters, now in their third month of blocking to Mauna Kea Access Road.