Hawaii News State lawmaker assaulted at homeless encampment By Rosemarie Bernardo and Allison Schaefers June 30, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM / 2013State Rep. Tom Brower grabbed headlines in 2013 by taking a sledgehammer to unattended shopping carts on city sidewalks and at homeless encampments. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. State Rep. Tom Brower, videotaping a homeless encampment in Kakaako, was reportedly assaulted by several people Monday afternoon and taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, sources told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman of the Department of Public Safety, said an altercation occurred at about 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 about the assault. The investigator declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation. Sources said Brower, 50, was recording video of some homeless people near the Children’s Discovery Center, where there is a large homeless encampment, when some people asked him to stop. Brower was then reportedly 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 in serious condition to a hospital. The victim told paramedics he was apparently punched multiple times. A hospital spokeswoman declined to disclose whether Brower was being treated at Queen’s, citing federal privacy laws. House of Representatives spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka confirmed Brower was discharged from Queen’s on Monday evening. Tanaka said she did not know why he was transported to the hospital. Sources said the incident is being investigated as a second-degree assault, a felony. Schwartz said, "It’s unknown at this time if the victim will choose to press charges." Brower (D, Ala Moana-Waikiki) made national headlines in 2013 by waging a one-man campaign against vagrancy, using a sledgehammer to demolish stolen and abandoned shopping carts that homeless people used to carry their belongings. If the carts were clearly marked with a store’s logo, Brower said, 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 over the course of several weeks, homeless advocates called for legislative leaders to discipline him. "I’m not trying to attack the homeless," Brower said in 2013 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." In the weeks and months leading up to Monday’s incident, Brower had grown increasingly concerned with constituents’ complaints regarding the growth of homelessness in his district. "The last few months, I’ve noticed that although there are fewer homeless people in the district, they have grown more angry. It’s more unsafe at night," said Brower during an interview with the Star-Advertiser on June 12. "There are fewer homeless at Ala Moana Park, but they are grittier. The people living at the Waikiki promenade near the convention center are more hard-core." Brower, who frequently talks to homeless people during walks through his district, said he has long sought to find more effective solutions. "Kakaako has become a homeless campsite by default with the government’s blessing," he said during the earlier interview. "Homelessness is being normalized." Kimo Carvalho, community relations director for the Institute for Human Services, said that unsheltered homelessness in Kakaako has grown dramatically in the last few months. "Today there were 183 tents," Carvalho said. On June 9, Carvalho said, the count was 158 tents, up from 116 on May 6. "That kind of increase in just the last few months goes to show that the Kakaako community has definitely adopted a protective barrier of a community and lifestyle, which many homeless clients view as a safe zone," he said. "They don’t want to feel exposed." ——— Star-Advertiser staff writers Gary. T. Kubota and Nanea Kalani contributed to this report. Previous Story Transgender soldier back on the front lines Next Story Christie says he's running in 2016 to 'change the world'