Maui men accused in racially-motivated attack plead not guilty

Maui men accused in racially-motivated attack plead not guilty
The two suspects were seen on surveillance cameras trespassing onto Kunzelman's property, spewing threats. (Source: Surveillance Cameras)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two Maui men who were indicted last week on federal hate crime charges in connection with the 2014 beating of a white man pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday.

Kaulana Alo Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr. were initially only given probation for allegedly harassing and attacking Chris Kunzelman and his uncle when they attempted to move in to a new home in Kahakuloa Village.

A grand jury Friday charged the two men with a hate crime on Friday.

In surveillance video, Kaonohi and Aki can be heard saying: “It’s nothing personal, they just have the wrong color skin.”

Kunzelman suffered broken ribs and a huge gash when he was hit with a shovel.

If convicted, the two men face up to ten years in prison.

“Violence perpetrated towards others on the basis of race is an intolerable form of conduct that we must combat as a law enforcement community and a Nation. My office will do its part to protect the public by holding those who commit hate crimes accountable for their conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price.

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