Police commission defers decision on eviction complaint
The Hawaii County Police Commission on Friday delayed again a decision on a woman’s complaint that officers physically and mentally injured her when she was arrested during the Oct. 25 eviction of Abel Lui and others from Kawa Bay in Ka‘u.
The commission considered for a third time the complaint filed in December by Kittrena Morgan, the only person arrested during the early morning eviction of Lui and others by Hawaii Police Department officers and various Hawaii County officials. The eviction followed a state court ruling that Lui was illegally occupying the land at Kawa Bay.
Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said the commission during its monthly meeting held in Waimea opted to defer the matter to its next commission meeting June 21 in Hilo. He added that the commission requested additional information.
Morgan’s police commission complaint alleges that when officers executed the writ of possession and ejection, they caused her bodily injury and emotional distress. The complaint also notes her disagreement with her treatment following arrest.
Morgan was arrested and charged with simple trespassing and resisting arrest in connection with the Oct. 25 eviction. According to 3rd Circuit Court records, Morgan pleaded not guilty to the charges on Jan. 24. Her jury trial began May 14.
On May 16, Ibarra made a judgment of acquittal on the resisting arrest charge following a motion by the defense for acquittal on both charges, according to 3rd Circuit Court records. He noted that while there is probable cause for the charge, the state is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt she committed the offense.
Ibarra denied the defense’s motion for acquittal on the simple trespassing charge finding that the state could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, according to court records.
Sheriffs served Lui, Morgan and another person the county’s writ of possession just after 7 a.m. Oct. 25. The three were given two hours to collect their personal belongings and vacate the property. Hawaii County officials said at the time that Morgan became emotional during the procedure and did not cooperate. She was arrested and later charged.
Hawaii County purchased a 234-acre parcel at Kawa from the Edmund Olson Trust in January 2008. In February 2011, the county filed a complaint to get full possession of that land, while the trust filed a similar petition for two parcels it intended to sell to the county. The court granted those requests in June 2011, and the county purchased another 550 acres from the trust in November.