WATCH: Native Hawaiians Found Guilty Of Hate Crime After Beating White Man With Shovel

By Ken on
 November 20, 2022
By Ken on

After punching, kicking, and beating a white man with a shovel in Maui in early 2014,  two native Hawaiians, Kaulana Alo-Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr., have been found guilty of a hate crime, by a Federal Court. Ordered held in jail, pending their sentencing in March, each faces a possible 10-years in prison. According to the Associated Press “The federal trial was only to determine if they were guilty of a hate crime”, as these men had already been tried in Hawaii state court.

According to the New York Post, in Hawaii state court, Alo-Kaonohi had already pleaded no contest to felony assault and was placed on probation, while Aki pleaded no contest to terroristic threatening and was sentenced to probation and a lengthy jail sentence.

On Friday, according to the outlets story, the two men, were allegedly motivated by Christopher Kunzelman’s race, when the incident occurred in the Kahakuloa village, where he was in the process of renovating his recently purchased home back in 2014.

The Post also added, that they were indicted by a federal grand jury, in late 2020, on hate crime charges, once the justice department made the decision to prosecute. Reportedly the attack in 2014, included the men also punching his disabled uncle.

In video footage of the incident caught, the moment someone out of view said, “I’m hurrying up, you already hit me over the head,” to which another person replied, “Brah, stop being a little (expletive) and hurry the (expletive) up,” the two men were seen pacing the bottom floor of the home while one of them held a shovel.

As reported by KHON in 2019, Kunzelman had relocated to the area, in early 2014, when his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). He apparently decided not to shoot the men with his gun, throwing it near the beach, moments before he was struck with the shovel. Reportedly, Kunzelman was hospitalized with injures that included broken ribs and gashes as a result of the assault.

According to the Post, the defendants’ lawyers, claimed it was not a hate crime because it was motivated by the victim’s attitude, stating-

“The men were upset that Kunzelman cut locks to village gates, their lawyers said. Kunzelman said he did so because residents were locking him in and out while he was fixing up his new home. He testified that he wanted to provide the village with better locks and distribute keys to residents,”

-New York Post

Kunzelman, who has since moved to Puerto Rico, claimed that during the beating, the men said no white people would ever live there, and he had the wrong skin color. Apparently, Aki was reported to have admitted to saying, “You’s a haole, eh,” a term used to describe a foreigner, especially a white foreigner. Though his lawyers have claimed it was not used in a derogatory manner, to know Hawaii, is to know, that it is also not a term of endearment.

This is a sad case of emotions running unchecked, by persons who didn’t think before they acted. It is not an example of the general population of the very accepting, generous people that are Hawaiians. The Aloha spirit is what makes Hawaii, it’s people and culture so unique. These two men, definitely lost their way and will likely have plenty of time to consider their actions.

No one can blame Mr. Kunzelman for his poor impression of Hawaiian culture – given this sad experience. Anyone would be put off. However, this is truly a misrepresentation of the heart of Hawaii and the Aloha that can be found there. It is a true Hawaiian travesty. As a people, may the nation not judge the heart of the many, based on the lack of judgement of the few.

“You can't judge the many by the actions of the few”

-Michael Buckley
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