MOILIILI—Dozens of Oahu residents gathered this afternoon at Old Stadium Park for a protest march and vigil in the wake of the shooting death of 23-year-old Kollin Elderts at a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant this past weekend. Elderts was allegedly shot dead by Christopher Deedy, a 27-year-old federal agent from Virginia in Honolulu as a part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference.
Since the incident, Deedy has been charged with second degree murder and released on bail.
Those gathered at the protest were there to demand justice in the shooting, and to protest APEC. The group marched from Old Stadium Park to the Hawaii Convention Center. A vigil is planned for later tonight at the McDonald’s location where the incident took place.
Gregory, a protestor who asked that only his first name be used, said of the APEC security presence in Honolulu: “It’s like putting the FBI in charge of a kid’s birthday party.”
Many of those in attendance invoked Elderts’ name when decrying APEC’s presence in Hawaii. The protest was held about 50 yards from a line of “homeless” tents along King Street.
Speaking of the “occupation” of Hawaii of the last 100 years, protest spokesperson Carolyn Hadfield said, “What happened to Kollin is symbolic of what we face here. Keeping information [about the incident] from the public is not the right thing to do.”
And while the tragedy of Elderts’ death does serve to illuminate the agenda of anti-APEC protestors, those involved were steadfast in their resolve to keep the protest about seeking justice for the victim and support for his family. Black armbands were passed out to participants as a memorial to Elderts.
“This event is about Kollin,” said Hadfield. “We’re demanding justice and the truth.” Hadfield also spoke of the fact that the accused killer Deedy is free on bail, stating that he is not even required to remain in Hawaii while the case proceeds.
“It’s emblematic of the power that is protecting him [Deedy],” said Hadfield.
Hadfield also urged protestors to abide by the law and avoid any confrontations with police, stating firmly that this was a nonviolent protest. She made the plea shortly after two dozen armed HPD police officers rode to the scene on bicycles. There was also a fairly large presence of officers in the aloha garb and straw hats assigned to many of officers assigned to APEC special duty. And while it was a show of force, it appeared that HPD officers were making an attempt to not appear intimidating.
Longtime Honolulu activist Kyle Kajihiro addressed the crowd as well, saying: “This is about dignity and respect. This is an act of healing as much as it is a protest.”
The mood at the protest was solemn but friendly, as participants struggled to temper anger with respect, ideology with the grim reality of the shooting death of Kollin Elderts.