State reopens Palace grounds
The grounds around Iolani Palace reopened at 6:30 a.m. today while the palace remained closed in the wake of a takeover attempt by a pro-sovereignty group that occupied the property Friday.
The executive director of Iolani Palace says it started Friday night with a phone call from a palace volunteer reporting people outside locking the gates.
The Palace is closed normally on Mondays. "Our investigation is continuing, and we are assessing when we could reopen the palace," said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the palace grounds. The historic landmark remained closed over the weekend with state enforcement personnel on hand. Those personnel remained in place today, Ward said.
Honolulu police arrested 23 people. Fifteen were charged with second-degree criminal trespassing and posted $50 bail.
James Akahi, who claims he tried to sit on the throne, was released without charges. His wife and five others were charged at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday with second-degree burglary. They posted $5,000 bail.
Donald Love-Boltz, 73, of Texas, was charged with second-degree assault. He made an initial appearance in District Court this morning and remained in custody in lieu of $5,000 bail.
No artifacts were damaged when a group calling itself Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation, broke into the palace Friday afternoon, the statehood holiday, according to Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of Friends of Iolani Palace.
But the attempted takeover brought about serious concerns, including an allegation that a Honolulu police sergeant stood idly while a group member assaulted a palace employee. "Whenever there is an issue of threat to the public or employees, there should not be any hesitation on any law enforcement office regardless of jurisdiction," de Alba Chu said.
Gov. Linda Lingle criticized the Honolulu Police Department and instructed Attorney General Mark Bennett to investigate the case, including the calls made to 911. Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa on Saturday called HPD's inaction on Friday "appropriate."
The most recent previous protest at the palace was by members of a group called the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, who chained the gates April 30.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa said actions taken by Honolulu police officers with regards to the takeover attempt at Iolani Palace Friday were appropriate. This article originally misquoted Correa as saying the actions were inappropriate.