Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Signholding at 1st Day of Trial of Agent Deedy

Justice for Kollin Elderts!

The trial of U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy began Monday at First Circuit Court. As the trial began, activists with World Can't Wait-Hawai`i were joined by others in front of the courthouse with signs reading "Justice for Kollin Elderts" and "Kollin and Trayvon: Victims of the Same Racist System." While our numbers were small, the response from people passing by was great. Friends of Kollin's and members of Kollin's family came to us to thank us for standing up for justice for Kollin and many others expressed their support as drivers passing by honked their horns. A few people we talked with said they had never heard about the murder of Kollin Elderts (including a lawyer going into court for a case), but the overwhelming response was positive.

The signholding was covered on Hawai`i News Now,, KITV, and the Star Advertiser.

The facts of this case are clear. Agent Deedy, who is Caucasian, arrived in Honolulu on November 4, 2011 after a 10-hour flight. He came as part of the U.S. State Department team providing security at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting being held in Honolulu 3 days later. That afternoon he was briefed by a fellow agent and was told that the "locals" didn't like them, that he shouldn't go to particular areas on O`ahu, and that Waikiki was dangerous at night. After the briefing Deedy e-mailed a friend saying that he was going out to dinner and then to bars to "get crazy". He went to at least 6 bars with his friends before going to McDonald's after 2am on the morning of the 5th of November.

When Agent Deedy walked into McDonald's Kollin was in an argument with another customer, who was drunk and harassing the counter-help. Kollin's friend, Shane, intervened to stop the argument and Kollin sat down to wait for his food. Agent Deedy walked over to Kollin, stood above him, and said: "Acting like that is going to get you shot." and then "Do you want to get shot? I'm going to shoot you." A scuffle ensued and Deedy pulled out his service Glock and shot and missed Kollin twice before his third shot hit Kollin in the chest. Six minutes after Deedy entered McDonald's, Kollin lay dead on the floor. Police who arrived shortly afterwards testified that Deedy smelled of alcohol, had a hard time standing up straight, had blurry eyes and slurred speech.  

 All of this happened only two days before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings were set to begin and thousands of security agents, members of the international media, and high level participants were already in Honolulu. The system moved quickly to cover up the murder. Deedy was not given a test for either alcohol or drugs. He was kept at the Honolulu Police Department until AFTER the meetings ended and when finally indicted was given a relatively low bond and was allowed to leave Hawai`i and return to his job with the U.S. State Department. At the same time, a campaign of lies and slanders against the victim, Kollin Elderts attempted to paint Kollin as the aggressor and the U.S. State Department Agent as someone who was nobly acting in his capacity as a law enforcement officer in order to protect the citizens of Hawai`i as well as tourists visiting the State. Reality was turned on its head.   

 While it was good that a small number of people were in front of the courthouse when the trial of Agent Deedy opened, there should have been thousands there to demand Justice for Kollin Elderts! This case should be discussed, debated and argued at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in churches. We urge people to watch what is happening in this trial. Talk about it with your friends and on social media. You can watch the full opening statements on Hawai`i News Now and other local media sites. But don't lose sight of the basic facts in the confusion that will be created during this trial. Kollin Elderts was an unarmed, young, Hawaiian man who was out celebrating the birthdays of his friends when he was brutally murdered by a drunk U.S. State Department Special Agent. 

 Get your friends together to stand in front of the courthouse to send a message to the family of Kollin Elderts, as well as the people of Hawai`i and the world that we will not allow this murder to go unpunished! Even a few people can make a difference!

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