comscore Honolulu prosecutor seeks to dismiss COVID-19 violation charges against U.S. Surgeon General | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Honolulu prosecutor seeks to dismiss COVID-19 violation charges against U.S. Surgeon General

The Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney submitted a motion today seeking to dismiss charges against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide for allegedly violating the city’s emergency order at a closed park on Oahu in late August.

“A prosecutor’s paramount goal is to do justice. After a careful review of the facts and law in this case, I have determined that further prosecution of this matter would not achieve that goal,” said Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm.

“This office’s resources are better spent prosecuting other offenses, including serious violations of the Mayor’s emergency orders that pose a real threat to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement today.

The department’s motion to dismiss is pending before the First Circuit Court.

Adams’ attorney, Michael Green, said he is not surprised by the motion filed by the department. “He didn’t violate anything at all.”

Green had submitted a separate motion in December seeking to dismiss the charges.

Adams had come to Oahu to assist the city with federally supported COVID-19 during a surge of the virus in Hawaii.

On the morning of Aug. 23, a tour guide took Adams and his aide Dennis Anderson-Villaluz to Kualoa Regional Park to go swimming. When they arrived, they walked to the ocean but the water appeared murky.

They opted not to swimming and started to walk back to their vehicle, according to Green. During the walk, the men briefly stopped as Beck took photos of Adams and Anderson-Villaluz with Chinaman’s Hat in the background.

About halfway to their vehicle, the guide took another photo of them with the Kualoa mountains in the background.

When they reached their vehicle, police officers approached them and cited them for allegedly violating an emergency order that had closed beach parks.

An emergency order violation is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, a year in jail or both.

A temporary shutdown of all Oahu beach parks was in place at the time under then-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency order to prevent large social gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Loitering or sitting on the beach were prohibited; however, individuals were still allowed to traverse a beach to enter the ocean during the shutdown.

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