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Two Hawai‘i Men Charged With Hate Crime

January 15, 2021, 5:38 PM HST
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United States District Court courtroom on Oahu. U.S. General Services Administration photo.

Two men have been charged with a hate crime stemming from a 2014 incident on Maui.

A federal grand jury in Honolulu on Friday returned an indictment charging Kaulana Alo Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr. for their “racially motivated attack” on a Caucasian man who was attempting to move into the defendants’ Native Hawaiian neighborhood of Kahakuloa, according to a DOJ release.

The indictment was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General John B. Daukas for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, US Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawai‘i, and FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda.

The indictment alleges that on Feb. 13, 2014, Kaonohi and Aki willfully caused bodily injury to the victim (CK), and attempted to cause bodily injury to CK through the use of a dangerous weapon (a shovel), because of CK’s actual and perceived race and color.

“Violence perpetrated toward others on the basis of race is an intolerable form of conduct that we must combat as a law enforcement community and a nation,” said US Attorney Price. “My office will do its part to protect the public by holding those who commit hate crimes accountable for their conduct.”

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The maximum penalty for the charged crime is 10 years of imprisonment. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant US Attorney Chris Thomas of the District of Hawai‘i is prosecuting the case in partnership with Special Litigation Counsel Christopher J. Perras and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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