The commonality of law enforcement brutality

During the rally for Kollin Elderts last Friday, tourists were surprised to learn that law enforcement brutality happens in Hawaii too.

I was leafleting during the march and got out 350 leaflets that contained the details of the Elderts case.  The leaflet was put out by World Can’t Wait. We could have distributed more because people were really interested in what the march was about.

Many, many [tourists] said there was a lot of police brutality in their cities, but that they were surprised it happened in Hawai`i as well. Black people, in particular, talked about how common police brutality was in their communities, and were most eager to get the leaflet. Some were surprised that the murderer was a federal agent.

I talked with a street performer who said that Kollin Elderts often came to give him money and tell him he liked his performance—and that a couple of times they had gone out for a beer after the performance. One young man I met said he was married to the niece of one of the Elderts family, and that while he didn’t really know Kollin, everything he’d heard about him was so good. Another guy said he’d gone to high school with him and said he was a fun-loving and “really good guy.” A number of people (including a few of the salespersons standing at the doors of the up-scale shops said they’d been following the case and that they were very upset when the verdict came out. Two said they “at least expected manslaughter.”

I spoke with one black man from St. Louis. He had lived in Ferguson and had family there and was talking with them daily about events. He talked about the huge disparity in incomes, unemployment, and of the fear black people had of the police.

—Carolyn Hadfield

Photo by Ed Greevy