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Maui publisher arrested while videotaping traffic stops

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:32 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2012

The publisher of a weekly newspaper on Maui said he was only doing his job as a journalist when he was arrested by police Tuesday morning while videotaping traffic stops.

"I was shocked," said Tommy A. Russo, publisher of the Maui Time weekly.

Russo, 39, said he was stopped by a police checkpoint shortly after 9:20 a.m. at Hana and Haleakala highways. After noticing that traffic was backing up for miles to the Haliimaile junction, he started videotaping the operation, he said.

Police said the officers were conducting Operation Recon, in response to complaints about oversized vehicles and vehicles with illegal tint.

Police said Russo refused to stay behind police vehicles while officers conducted controlled traffic stops.

Police charged Russo with obstructing government operations, resisting arrest and harassment.

He was freed after posting $3,000 bail.

His court appearance in Wailuku is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 27.

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