James O'Keefe goes undercover in Lahaina, Hawaii, to reveal a shocking directive from Governor Josh Green: a prohibition on photography on public land. Local law enforcement is enforcing this outrageous order, but even members of the Hawaii National Guard have criticized these actions.
But O'Keefe Media Group (OMG) isn't just reporting; we're taking action. We are suing Governor Josh Green for this blatant infringement on our 1st Amendment rights. This isn't merely about the freedom to take photos; it's about the freedom of the press and the right to hold our leaders accountable.
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Maui police and sheriffs tell Journalists Governor has prohibited photography on public land.
From www.okeefemediagroup.com Thu, Sep 14, 2023
In Lahaina, Hawaii, we released hidden camera recordings on Thursday that show Maui Police officers and Sheriffs warning journalists they will be arrested if they take video or photography alongside the miles of Lahaina bypass highway and along the perimeter of the burn zone.
Hawaii National Guard says Maui police and Sheriffs are “assholes” who are “puffing chests” and OMG files lawsuit against Hawaii Gov to allow for video recordings.
These statements are a violation of the 1st Amendment and have led to a lawsuit filed against the Governor.
“We’re not trying to hide anything,’ said the Maui Sheriff about the prohibition of photography miles away from the center of town along the Lahaina bypass. “It’s for safety.”
The camera, hidden in buttons worn by James O’Keefe and his OMG team, also captured two national guardsmen at checkpoints inside the burn zone. Speaking to the actions of the local sheriff and police, the national guardsmen said, “Nobody can stop you from taking pictures,” local law enforcement are, “puffing their chests”, and are sheriffs are “assholes.”
Sheriff Officer W. Aqua told the journalists they are “in violation” for parking on the shoulder of the bypass miles away from the center of town to do news reporting, although the word “park” does not appear in statute.
The police officers and sheriffs cited Hawaii’s revised “Emergency Management” statute 127A-29 Governor’s emergency proclamation and revised statute 127A29 which states “Emergency period infractions, violations, misdemeanors” but the statute says nothing about photography or a prohibition on journalism.
One of the Guardsmen from Oahu condemned the actions of the local police citing the Emergency proclamation and even said that he was himself a police officer from Honolulu. “I’m a police man in Honolulu and I’ve never heard of that.”
The other Guardsmen said, “Anybody can take a picture, nobody can stop you guys from taking pictures. It’s sensitive here right now, and he’s pushing and puffing his chest.”
It wasn’t just Sheriff’s that seemed to abuse the emergency proclamation. Officer Kunioka from MPD, or Maui Police Department, said that journalists would be arrested after a warning. The officer stated that “You can record whatever you want” but if you’re on the shoulder of the bypass you cannot record. He added, “I don’t know if there’s anything set up for journalists.”
Mike Yoder an attorney on location asked, “Is it normal for the governor to just unilaterally change the landscape of law in Hawaii. Yoder filed a lawsuit with OMG as plaintiff, against the Governor in Federal court, arguing the statue is unconstitutional and incompatible with the 1st Amendment.