State Rep. Tom Brower on Thursday announced he will press charges against one of the teenage boys who allegedly assaulted him at the Kakaako homeless encampment three weeks ago.
Brower returned to the site of the June 29 attack, which left him with bruised ribs and cuts to his face and hand. There, he met the mother of the 14-year-old boy who he said initiated the attack.
"I mean if he did hit you, I'm sorry," said a tearful Rose Puu.
"I'm trying to put my kids off the streets but I made a wrong mistake ... I just want to fix this whole thing," she said.
Puu's son Jonah Iose and his 17-year-old friend Isaiah Totoa said they got mad when he refused to put away his camera after they asked nicely.
"He was video recording me and walked up to him and asked him if he could please delete that picture and that video, and he was telling me no, you should back off,” Iose told Hawaii News Now soon afterward.
Added Totoa: “He caught his whole face on camera. So we don't like that when people come and do that without permission. So we asked him nicely if he could put down his camera ... And the guy said no."
But Puu believes that the boys are taking the blame for an older man who took part in the altercation. She said the man has since left the Kakaako area.
She said she worries that an arrest could ruin her son's life.
"I just wish I never bring him to the streets. It wouldn't be like this ... caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong people," she said.
Meanwhile, Brower said he would not reconsider.
"I have to press the charges," he said.
""We've seen the escalation in the number of assaults in this area and the people who commit these acts need to be held accountable."
The following is a transcript of Rep. Brower's statements during a press conference Thursday afternoon:
I was standing here when I took a picture of each of the two streets behind me. After that, a young man came from over a block away on a skateboard. He drove into me and hit me several times. I never videotaped him until well after he repeatedly pushed, hit and tried to tackle me to the ground. My video recording began well after I was being assaulted.
Soon I was tackled by a second person and bloodied, I told the young men I was there to help. They acknowledged in a TV interview on June 30th that they heard me say I was there to help. Today, my offer to help still stands, but for me to help you, you have to meet me half-way.
To the two young men, you should talk to the others involved, and as a group come forward. You have an opportunity to do what is right and bring respect and dignity to yourselves, your family and your neighbors in Kakaako. The people of Hawaii await your decision.
If you show us the honesty, we will show you the compassion. I am with you in spirit and only a phone call away. I will offer you my help, should you ask. Or should you want, respect your privacy.
During the attack, I never struck back at anyone, even though witnesses said I was surrounded by ten people. I have no anger towards anyone involved, however this is not just about me. This is about the health and safety of the public. This is about the people who visit the Waterfront Park, the children and families that go to the Children’s Discovery Center, the businesses in the area, and the people who live in the encampments.
Therefore I will be pressing charges against the people who attacked me.
We have seen an escalation in the number of assaults in the area, and those who commit these acts need to be held accountable for their actions.
To those involved, may God bless you and the people around you in Kakaako.