As federal officials warn of threats to local and state government facilities in the wake of the violent mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Honolulu and state officials said on Monday that they are monitoring the situation but shared little about what actions they are taking.
Hawaii’s Capitol Building was intentionally designed to be open and accessible. That can be a security challenge, the governor said last week.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
The FBI warned of the potential of people “storming” city, state and federal facilities if President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, ABC reported. Extremists are also planning to invade government offices in every state on Inauguration Day, the FBI bulletin said.
On Monday, city and state officials said they haven’t received localized threats.
“There are currently no credible threats,” Honolulu Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said in an emailed statement. “However, we are in contact with federal and state authorities and will continue to monitor the situation.”
State public safety officials acknowledged the FBI bulletin on Monday but said the Department of Public Safety sheriff’s division had not received word of any credible threats to the Hawaii State Capitol.
The department “is working with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to monitor real time and updated intelligence reports,” Toni Schwartz, a public information officer, said in an emailed statement.
“PSD cannot discuss specifics of operational planning for law enforcement actions. The department will take all necessary and appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the public and its law enforcement officers.”
Hawaii House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti said that authorities are aware of the increased security concerns and that steps are being taken now to assess and address concerns leading up to Jan. 20, which is the Legislature’s opening day as well as Inauguration Day.
“Due to the pandemic, the Capitol remains closed to the public and plans are for most of the session to be conducted remotely with authorized members and staff meeting in-person at the Capitol,” she said in an emailed statement.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who voted for Trump in 2016, issued a statement Monday condemning the violence on Wednesday.
“The deadly pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol was reprehensible and unable to defend under any set of circumstances,” he said. “A peaceful transfer of power is incredibly important to democracy and unity. Mutual respect is what makes government work at the Federal, State, and County levels.”
He continued: “I commend our Hawaii delegation in Washington D.C. for their outstanding grace and dedication, working through this unfortunate moment in our history to confirm the results of the Presidential election.”
Last week, Gov. David Ige called the attack on the U.S. Capitol “extremely distressing” and said Trump is responsible for inciting the mob.
“It is an assault on our democracy and everything that our country stands for,” he said.
Securing the Hawaii State Capitol would be challenging because of its open-air design, the governor said.
“The Capitol was designed purposefully to be a very open facility inviting our community to observe and participate in the legislative process,” he said. “That makes it very difficult to create the fortress kind of security measures that we see in most other state capitols.”
In 2019, legislators acknowledged that the Hawaii State Capitol has “no meaningful security measures” and drafted a bill that would have required the establishment of an enhanced security plan including vehicular barriers and weapons screening.
While Trump supporters have protested the results of the election near the Hawaii State Capitol recently, Ige commended them for doing it peacefully. Ige said state public safety officials do drills and would be prepared if a protest were to escalate.
At least one Hawaii resident participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Nicholas Ochs, a member of the violent, ring-wing extremist Proud Boys, is facing a criminal charge for unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds, for which he could face up to a year in prison if convicted.
On Monday, he was released from the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu on $5,000 bond.
Reporter Blaze Lovell contributed to this report.
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