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DAY 5: DOCARE Chief Challenges Claims of Excessive Force

July 19, 2019, 2:13 PM HST
* Updated July 19, 3:46 PM
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Puna resident Ikaika Marzo stands with Mauna Protectors blocking Mauna Kea Access Road on third day of TMT protest, July 17, 2019. PC: Crystal Richard

On day five of the TMT protests, Friday, July 19, 2019, claims circulated  that the state government has approved the use of excessive force in dealings with protestors of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which has been given the go-ahead to begin construction atop Mauna Kea.

TMT protest, July 15, 2019. PC: Gerald Besson

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Chief Jason Redulla challenged the veracity of those claims. DOCARE is a branch of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources.

“There are no orders or directions from any state government agencies or leader approving the use of excessive force,” Chief Redulla said.

He added the false rhetoric is being circulated via both traditional and social media.

“It is dangerous, and it is absolutely false,” Chief Redulla reiterated. “There have been no actions by law enforcement since the protests started that support these outlandish assertions. Today we are continuing preparation for the start of construction.”

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He said all agencies are meeting today to determine what the next steps will be, adding those agencies will take appropriate steps to ensure adequate resources are in place to handle the size of the crowd of protestors that has now gathered. As of 11 a.m. Friday, there were several hundred on site.

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When asked if the state is preparing for an increase in the number of protestors over the weekend, Chief Redulla said they are always planning but could not speak to specifics.

Gov. David Ige spoke to the media Friday on Hawai‘i Island. His press conference may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/.

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