City to drop homeless protest case
Two advocates had sued over their arrest for protesting closure of Ala Moana Park
Honolulu prosecutors will not pursue criminal trespassing charges against two homeless advocates arrested at City Hall earlier this year for protesting nighttime closures at Ala Moana Park.
"Upon further review, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney has declined further prosecution in this matter," Jim Fulton of the prosecutor's office confirmed yesterday.
Siuea Utuloa "Utu" Langi and Julia Matsui Estrella had claimed in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that their arrest and subsequent prosecution caused them much suffering, including emotional distress.
The American Civil Liberties Union had asked last week that the charges be dropped because they violated the pair's First Amendment rights.
Estrella and Langi could not be reached for immediate comment.
They were among about 100 people who marched to City Hall on March 27 to demonstrate after police began enforcing a nighttime closure of the park for around-the-clock maintenance and cleanup.
Protesters had gathered for about two hours before authorities began clearing the area around midnight. Authorities had said the protesters could not sleep or set up tents on the grounds of Honolulu Hale.
Most protesters cleared out or moved off the grounds.
Estrella, Langi and two others left but soon returned to continue their protest.
The other two protesters arrested were charged with criminal trespassing, pleaded no contest and were sentenced to time served.