Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Police states

APEC is coming to town. Tomorrow, Hawaii time, which is today, Korea time, except that it's actually the day after tomorrow, Korea time.

And already things are getting, well, interesting. First off, there was a bomb scare near the site where some of the Asia-Pacific leaders will meet.

On top of that, a group of protesters calling for the return of sovereignty to the Kingdom of Hawaii have occupied the historic Iolani Palace. That stunt reminds me of a bumper sticker I've seen once or twice around Honolulu: "De-Occupy Hawaii," a play on the various "Occupy _____" movements, of which Honolulu also has one.

In fact, the Occupy Honolulu folks have sort of melded with the anti-APEC crowd.

But the real kicker is that one of the federal agents sent to Hawaii as part of APEC's security detail has been arrested for second-degree murder in the shooting death of a local man, 23-year-old Kollin Elderts, at a McDonald's in Waikiki. The federal agent, 27-year-old Christopher Deedy, allegedly followed Mr Elderts to the restaurant in the wee hours of the morning after an altercation at a Waikiki nightclub.

And although it's not Hawaii-related, I feel obliged to bring news of a shooting death involving a Santa Ana police officer (S.A. is the OC seat) who thought two guys were stealing a car in his Lakewood (L.A. County) neighborhood at 6 a.m. and went after them. Although the vehicle allegedly being stolen supposedly belonged to one of them and they were changing a tire, both ran when they were confronted by the off-duty cop in his PJs, who followed them in his own vehicle. He caught up with Jason Bitz, the guy supposedly being paid $12 to help change the tire, who somehow got into the police officer's personal vehicle and tried to drive away and was then shot four times, killing him.

The police officer says the young man was reaching for his waistband, but it turned out he was unarmed. Why, oh why, do these unarmed young men always reach for their waistbands only to end up dead?


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