As the issues surrounding Mauna Kea rage on, Hawaii’s police have been put in a difficult position. Many of them feel it is wrong for them to forcefully remove and arrest Hawaiian protectors of the Mauna, especially the kupuna. Yet they also have families to provide for and can’t risk losing their job.
So what should Hawaii’s police do?
They might want to look at Okinawa as an example.
In Okinawa, which is experiencing something very similar surrounding the construction of a military base at Henoko, the Okinawan police were put in almost the exact same situation. They were ordered to forcefully remove, harass, and arrest Okinawa’s peace and environmental protectors, the majority of whom are elderly.
How did they respond?
The Okinawan police ended up siding with Okinawa’s protectors, refusing to lay a hand on them. Because the Okinawan police force did this as a whole, none of them (to the best of my knowledge) lost their jobs or were punished.
Instead, Prime Minister of Japan sent in Japanese police, who have brutally mistreated the Okinawan protectors.
But that’s besides the point.
The point is, Okinawa’s police refused to harm the Okinawan peace protectors. They did the right thing, and it forced the Government of Japan to further demonstrate their human rights violations, prejudice, and discrimination against indigenous Okinawans. And the Okinawan police were even able to keep their jobs.
Now Hawaii’s police have a choice to make. If they make their choice in unison not to harm Hawaii’s protectors, they may be able to keep perform their kuleana for Hawaii and their kupuna, while also keeping their jobs safe.