Police commission denies Kawa evictee’s claim

A woman claiming she was abused by police when she and sovereignty activist Abel Lui were evicted from Kawa Bay last year lost her case Friday before the Hawaii County Police Commission.

After a closed-door session, the commission unanimously agreed there was insufficient evidence to forward Kittrena Morgan’s complaint to the Police Department for further investigation.

Morgan declined comment after the vote, but Lui, 70, said he will file complaints in federal court on behalf of Morgan, who he says is his caretaker.

“I was there when it happened. I was a witness to her complaint,” Lui said. “It’s not over.”

The eviction followed a state court ruling that Lui was illegally occupying the land in Ka‘u.

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. She was subsequently acquitted of resisting arrest. 3rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald 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.