Off The Beat: What Laws Did Hawaii Rep. Tom Brower Break?
He carried a sledgehammer through the streets of Honolulu smashing up shopping carts used by the homeless to carry their belongings.
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Hawaii Rep. Tom Brower might have put his sledgehammer back in the tool shed, but there’s still one question we haven’t seen answered.
How many laws did Brower actually break while on his wheel-bashing crusade against the homeless and their shopping carts?
Brower was so fed up with homelessness in his district — which includes Waikiki and Kakaako — that he decided to take matters into his own hands. Literally. With a sledgehammer.
His not-so-obvious solution was to smash up the shopping carts that homeless people use to carry their belongings.
“I got tired of telling people I’m trying to pass laws,” Brower told Hawaii News Now. “I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets.”
Brower’s antics garnered national attention and with it, a fair amount of criticism. While some considered him a hero, others looked at him as nothing more than a bully with a hammer.
But we couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t arrested, or at the very least, fined. More importantly, what would have happened to some random citizen whacking shopping carts with a sledgehammer? Would they have gotten in trouble?
Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said her agency never received any complaints about Brower. As a result, HPD was unable to determine if he broke any laws.
Yu didn’t want to speculate beyond that.
Local defense attorney Marcus Landsberg, however, wasn’t shy about pointing out the laws Brower might possibly have broken.
“It’s indisputable to me that he should be charged $250 per cart for illegal dumping,” Landsberg told us, citing Honolulu’s rules for leaving bulky items on the sidewalk.
Brower destroyed 30 shopping carts, and admits to leaving some behind for city workers to pick up. The rest he took to a recycling center, he says.
But Brower’s possible violations go beyond leaving mangled shopping carts on the side of the road.
Brower may well have committed criminal property damage, theft and terroristic threatening, a possible felony.
“The difference between misdemeanor and felony terroristic threatening is a weapon,” Landsberg said. “Clearly a sledgehammer is a weapon.”
Brower, of course, has said he didn’t intend to threaten anybody.
But he also clearly understood the image he was projecting. He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that when he’s “walking down the sidewalk with a sledgehammer people get out of your way.”
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