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Rep. Tom Brower reportedly injured in assault while videotaping homeless

  • BRUCE ASATO / NOV. 17, 2013
    In this 2013 file photo, State Representative Tom Brower posed with the sledgehammer he used to smash unattended shopping carts on city sidewalks and at homeless encampments at the Ala Wai Canal.
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State Rep. Tom Brower was taken to Queen’s Medical Center after he was allegedly assaulted by several people in Kakaako Monday afternoon, sources told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 

Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman of the Department of Public Safety, said an altercation occurred at around 5 p.m., with sheriff’s deputies responding to the scene.

“They ganged up on this one man and he was taken to the hospital,” said Schwartz, who did not reveal the name of the victim. 

An investigator with the attorney general’s office interviewed homeless people early Monday evening along Ohe Street concerning the assault. The investigator declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation. 

Sources said Brower, 50, was videotaping some homeless people near the Children’s Discovery Center where there is a large homeless encampment when they asked him to stop. Brower was then allegedly assaulted, suffering a concussion and two swollen eyes, sources said. His camera was also stolen. 

Shayne Enright, spokeswoman of the Emergency Medical Services, said paramedics transported a 50-year-old man to a trauma hospital in serious condition. The victim told paramedics he was apparently punched multiple times. 

The incident is being investigated as a second-degree assault, which is considered a felony. 

Brower (D-Ala Moana, Waikiki) made national headlines in 2013 after waging a one-man campaign using a sledgehammer to demolish stolen and abandoned shopping carts that homeless people used to carry their belongings. 

Over several weeks, Brower said if the carts were clearly marked with a store’s logo, he returned them. If they were not, he would pound them with his sledgehammer and either drop them at a recycling center or leave them for the city’s bulky pickup service.

While many residents supported Brower’s efforts, homeless advocates called for legislative leaders to discipline him. 

“I’m not trying to attack the homeless,” Brower said after deciding he no longer would use his sledgehammer. “I’m trying to attack the issue of cleanliness, but some people interpreted as an attack on the homeless.”

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Star-Advertiser reporter Gary T. Kubota contributed to this report.

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