State Rep. Tom Brower said he will press charges against at least one of the teenage cousins who allegedly attacked him on June 29 as Brower photographed the growing homeless encampment in Kakaako.
Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako) made his announcement Thursday afternoon on the same corner of Ohe and Olomehani streets behind the Children’s Discovery Center where he was attacked, then chased by a mob to the front of the Children’s Discovery Center.
At the end of Brower’s news conference, Rose Pu’u, the mother of the 14-year-old boy who allegedly attacked Brower confronted the lawmaker in a dramatic moment after he finished speaking to reporters.
Pu’u, who is also the aunt of the 17-year-old boy accused in the attack, asked Brower whether he refused to stop taking pictures as the boys have alleged. Brower denied the boys’ account and repeated that he was attacked without warning by Pu’u’s son, who was riding a skateboard and bumped into the lawmaker.
Pu’u was at first confrontational then broke down in tears as she twice apologized to Brower, who accepted her apology.
"I’m sorry my son done do this," Pu’u said.
She claimed the two boys were "covering up" for someone who is older than they are.
After the two talked, Brower said, "I have to press charges … This is the beginning of the solution for this neighborhood."
Brower had walked over to the encampment from the state Capitol for the first time since the attack. He said the number of tents has only increased since his last visit.
The attack on Brower brought renewed attention on the encampment where Honolulu police and state sheriff’s deputies have seen an increase in assaults in the area over the last several months.
Brower told reporters that he believes police have enough evidence to charge at least one of the teens after they went on camera on Hawaii News Now the night of the attack and admitted their role. He encouraged the boys to "do the right thing" and identify the others who later joined in the attack.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is not identifying the boys because they are minors. They previously told the Star-Advertiser that Brower refused to stop taking pictures of them and laughed when they asked him to delete the pictures. Brower denies that he did anything to provoke the boys or that he photographed their faces.
He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center with a laceration near his right eye, facial swelling, bruised ribs and scrapes on his leg and left hand. Thursday he still had a cut over his eye and wounds to his hand.
The boys later turned his camera over to an investigator from the state Attorney General’s office, which later turned the case over to Honolulu police.
Brower has said hundreds of photos and videos had been deleted from his camera, including ones that would have validated his account of the attack.
Brower had gone to the encampment in response to a June 24 email to lawmakers and the Hawaii Community Development Authority that oversees Kakaako. In her email, Loretta Yajima, chairwoman of the Children’s Discovery Center’s board of directors, attached a surveillance video recording in which a man defecates at one of the center’s entrances. He then stands up and urinates on his feces, then squats back down to defecate some more. After he leaves, another man appears in the video and attempts to break into the building. He seems to study the pile of feces before defecating himself.