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Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Hawaii Has No Hate Crimes (Officially)
By Selected News Articles @ 4:52 AM :: 5015 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Law Enforcement

Hawaii Has No Hate Crimes (Officially)

by M L Nestel, Daily Beast, April 8, 2015 (excerpts)

...The process of compiling the data, the feds claim, helps them to smoke out groups “that preach hatred and intolerance” and ultimately “plant seeds of terrorism across our country.”

But what if the data we rely on is bunk? What does that say about the FBI’s ability to take down these terrorist seed-planters? And how do we begin to understand which communities are tolerant and which are not?

Take Hawaii. Unlike all other states in the union—which rely on state police departments and sheriffs’ offices to submit hate crimes data to the FBI—Hawaii has a go-it-alone policy and lets the attorney general’s office keep a running tally....

The numbers are “screwy,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “There are enormous numbers of hate crimes that are not reported to police. And there are an enormous number of hate crimes that are reported that are miscategorized.”

The FBI says 6,222 hate crimes were committed nationwide in 2012.

Potok said those “stats are not much use” and rely on dubious sourcing at best.  The true number of hate crimes in the U.S., he said, is almost 40 percent higher than what the FBI is reporting.

Indeed, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a division of the Justice Department, has counted far more hate crimes. In its recent report the agency cited 293,800 hate crimes in 2012.

In general, most communities try to play it conservative when it comes to hate crimes. “They don’t want to be known as a hotbed of hate,” Potok said.

Hawaii has remained the hotspot for tourists from around the world trying to escape to paradise. But for the the Padron family back in 2008, Hawaii was Hades.

Celia Padron and her husband, Gustavo, were on a cruise with their relatives and opted to take an excursion to Maui. They loaded up in a caravan and headed to see the black sands of Makena State Park.

Once they arrived, Celia Padron told The Daily Beast her nieces started to comb their hair, and they were approached by two “large” Hawaiian teens....

Combing through Hawaii’s crime report, it’s clear that there have been so-called hate crimes in the 50th state—despite the strange federal statistics. Around the same time as the Padrons were venturing to Maui, a group of campers in Ho’okena Beach on the Big Island was ambushed by five Hawaiian men. Tossing racial epithets and death threats, the men urged the party, which included children, to leave the island.

In 2009 the Hawai'i Department of Education was cited for failing to curb routine bullying and name-calling; kids were using derogatory words including “f--king haole,” “stupid haole,” “haole b-tch," “haole whore,” “Micro,” and “Jap.”

The Hawaii attorney general’s office said it believes believe its methodology for evaluating hate crimes is more precise than the FBI’s.

“The FBI program is merely set up at the police level,” Paul Perrone, the office’s chief of research and statistics, told The Daily Beast....

Honolulu-based Special Agent Tom Simon, who is also a spokesman for the FBI, countered that the state could show a little more Aloha spirit and get with the rest of the country in reporting its hate crimes and other crimes, as well.

“As far as the reporting goes, the FBI wishes Hawaii’s attorney general’s office—and all municipalities around the nation—would do a more thorough job of reporting all crime statistics. It would enable law enforcement to marshal our resources where we could do the most good,” Agent Simon told The Daily Beast.

In terms of the state’s maladies, hate crimes are low on the list. “Each year, the Honolulu FBI only receives about one or two hate crime complaints with any merit,” Agent Simon said, adding that the local authorities usually take charge of the investigation.

But his agents aren’t exactly sitting around like the Maytag repairmen, either. There’s just not that much hate to investigate, he said: “We have agents devoted to civil rights in Hawaii, and they would be in a position to know if there was a crime problem of any magnitude.”

“We would never fail to take action on a complaint that merits an FBI investigation,” he added. “The phone just isn’t ringing here with calls from hate crime victims. If it’s a crime problem here, it’s not one that is being reported to the feds.”

Mark Kawika Patterson, who has been the warden for multiple correctional facilities in Hawaii, said what is ailing the region is not hate crimes but drugs.

“Their ice epidemic is huge,” he said, referring to methamphetamine. “It’s broken up so many families. It’s not because of hate, it’s because we have so many addicts running around.”

And while some may point to native Hawaiians expressing anger over losing their sovereignty, Patterson warned the pain isn’t expressed through violence. “You can really get stupid and blow it out of proportion, but there are issues here of what we’re calling historical trauma,” he said. “There may be certain things happening to the Caucasians, but they’re rare and far in between.”...

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