911 tapes released of Big Island Councilman’s arrest

Kelly Greenwell
Kelly Greenwell

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police versus politician, on Wednesday night, we heard for the first time the dispatch calls on the day Hawaii County Council Member, Kelly Greenwell, got arrested.

The 911 calls were from several witnesses. The fight between Greenwell and the officer seemed so intense, one caller urged dispatch to call for backup.

Here are snippets:

Caller 1: "One of your police officers has a guy pulled over and they're fighting like hell and you should send another car over."

Caller 2: "There's a police man who seems to need help…and he's like wrestling a guy."

That 'guy' turned out to be Greenwell, booked on charges of resisting arrest after a July 17th traffic stop near the Kona Police Substation turned into a brawl.

One 911 caller says Greenwell started it.

Caller: "There was an officer giving a person a ticket and the guy started beating the officer up."

Dispatch: "The guy started beating the officer up?"

Caller: Yeah, they're fighting.

Police say it all started with a speeding ticket for going 51 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone.

In an interview with Big Island Video News, Greenwell explains why tempers flared.

"I started opening the door and he started saying, 'you're trying to run away from me' or something…and so I started to open the door again, and he slammed it," said Greenwell.

"He refused to provide his motor vehicle registration, insurance and drivers license," said Assistant Chief Henry Tavares, Hawaii County Police Department.

Greenwell says the officer put him at risk of an epileptic shock.

"That was the criminal event, when I was denied my medication," he said.

"There was no request for any type of medication," said Tavares.

Known for his fight to decriminalize marijuana, the North Kona lawmaker questions if his arrest is a case of police retaliation.

"I've been told by all the people that I was trying to work with on this marijuana thing, 'Greenwell, you watch your back now.'"

"We respect Mr. Greenwell's right to a fair trial and we prefer that those details be revealed at that time," said Tavares.

Greenwell's arraignment is on August 25th.

He was pulled over by an unmarked police car.

Greenwell recently proposed a ban on them, though he denied it had anything to do with his arrest. But Greenwell dropped the idea yesterday due to a lack of support.

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