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Maui police say they acted properly in arrest of injured Haleakala protester

Maui police said a preliminary review of reports and video from the arrest of a protester on Haleakala Wednesday shows that officers acted within department policy in forcibly restraining him before he fell unconscious in handcuffs.

Police released details today of the arrest of six protesters in a press release posted on the Maui Police Department website.

David Prais and five others were arrested at about 3:45 a.m. as a convoy carrying equipment to the Daniel K. Inouye solar telescope was met by a large group of protesters at the intersection of Haleakala Highway and Kekaulike Highway.

According to police, two women and four men were arrested after trying to get into the path of the trucks and in front of trailer tires to stop the convoy.

After Prais was taken to the ground and handcuffed, he fell unconscious and was taken to the hospital by ambulance and later discharged.

Kako‘o Haleakala, a group that organized the protest, said via Facebook Messenger that Prais was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center for a concussion and shoulder injuries. The group alleged that an officer had his knee on Prais’ head and that he was yelling for help and in pain and “became unconscious and unresponsive.”

According to the organization, Kako‘o Haleakala called an ambulance while police “just stood there and did not assist.”

Video from the protest showed he was being tended to by protesters and police.

Before being handcuffed, police said Prais “had gotten up from the ground and pushed past an officer and dove under the trailer of a truck as it was moving. Prais grabbed onto a tire as the truck slowed to a stop.”

Police said Prais was ordered repeatedly to let go of the tire, but had to be forcibly removed from under the trailer of a truck that was stopped on an incline. Officers reported trying to get Prais away from the truck but said he tried to run back underneath the trailer.

“Officers, in the interest of Prais’ safety and the safety of others, took Prais to the ground and tried to handcuff him,” the press release says. “Prais continued to struggle with officers and refused to obey commands. He tucked his hands under his body and refused to release them causing officers to forcibly restrain him and pull his arms free in order to handcuff him.

“As officers escorted Prais to an awaiting vehicle for transport to the police station, he suddenly appeared to become unconscious. Officers guided him to the ground and immediately radioed for an ambulance as a precaution and remained with Prais until its arrival,” police said.

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