The investigation of the June 29 assault on state Rep. Tom Brower at a growing Kakaako homeless encampment has moved from the state attorney general’s office to the Honolulu Police Department, but Brower still has not decided whether to pursue criminal charges.
Although an investigator from the attorney general’s office had been handling the case, Brower said it has been turned over to HPD because his two alleged assailants are minors, age 14 and 17.
"I will make a decision regarding pressing charges after I am contacted by police and have had a chance to speak to them," Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said she had not heard that Brower’s case had been "officially turned over" to HPD and referred the Star-Advertiser to the attorney general’s office, which did not have an immediate response.
The boys told the Star-Advertiser they attacked Brower after he refused to stop taking pictures of them and laughed when they asked him to delete the pictures. The Star-Advertiser is not identifying the boys because they are minors.
The 17-year-old boy also told the Star-Advertiser that his younger cousin deleted the photos before they turned Brower’s camera over to the attorney general’s investigator.
Brower has denied that he did anything to provoke the boys and said hundreds of photos and videos had been deleted from his camera, including ones that would have proved his version of the attack.
He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center with a cut near his right eye, facial swelling, bruised ribs and scrapes on his leg and hand.
"I never videotaped anyone until after I was being assaulted," said Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako). "I was repeatedly punched and pushed while attempts were made to throw me to the ground. I retreated several times. It was after this that I took out my camera to videotape what was happening to me. After a few seconds of videotape, I was knocked down from the side by someone else, who I didn’t see."
Brower said the attack began when a teenager a block away rode over on a skateboard "and started pushing me," adding, "There was no prior contact with anyone that day or in the previous days. … The whole time I remained calm, without anger, and did not hit back. Nor did I laugh at the young men while they were punching me and trying to drag me to the ground.
"The pictures would have shown that I am telling the truth."
Until his assault in Kakaako, Brower said, he had never had a problem with a homeless person, and has continued to speak to them about their situations after the attack.
"Me getting beat up brought a lot of attention to the issue," Brower said. "We shouldn’t need a horrific event to get people to focus on an issue that we all know is there."