Occupy Honolulu departs after protest at police headquarters

Occupy Honolulu protesters have left Honolulu police headquarters after setting up a new encampment at the building on South Beretania Street, asserting that city workers improperly seized their items.

No one was arrested.

The protest was peaceful. Just after the police headquarters opened at 7:45 a.m., a single protester sat with a sign in front of the metal detector at the entrance to the main police station.

Another protester waved to motorists passing by on Beretania Street at a tent erected on the sidewalk in front of the police station.

Wednesday evening, a protester claimed he was assaulted by a police officer who pushed him aside at the entrance about 6 p.m.

Andrew W. Smith, 28, said he was seated in the walkway to a metal detector when an officer shoved him while walking by, making him hit his head on the metal detector.

He said another officer urged the first officer to go inside the building. Police called an ambulance who checked on Smith, who was not hurt.

Police confirmed a third-degree assault case was opened involving the officer.

Smith said protesters decided to occupy the police station about 3:30 p.m. after losing their items, which were set up at Ward Avenue and South Beretania Street.

He said city workers tagged the campers’ items about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, giving the owners of the items 24 hours to remove them. The protesters carried away their items before the 24-hour deadline Wednesday and replaced them with untagged items in front of a police supervisor and city housing coordinator Trish Morikawa, Smith said.

City workers still took the items anyway, he said. Protesters lost 9 tents, bedding and other personal items.

“I will not leave this building until Trish Morikawa and Westley Chun” — the director of the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance — “are arrested for theft,” Smith said. “We’re not letting this one go.”

He said he filed a theft case with police.

About 5 protestors were staging in the main entrance to the station about 10 p.m. Wednesday.

One protestor, Christopher Smith, 40, who is also a member of the Makiki Neighborhood Board and brother of Andrew Smith, said a police supervisor watched as the protesters removed their items from the park Wednesday afternoon.

“He (the police sergeant) even admitted that he watched us remove the items, place them in a car, and that those items that were there were not part of what was actually tagged,” he said.

Star-Advertiser reporter Gregg K. Kakesako contributed to this story.