‘The opposite of aloha’: Family of tourists claims attack on Hawaii Island was racially-motivated

A Georgia family in Hawaii to fulfill a loved one’s dying wish says it ended in an assault that they believe was racially targeted.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:01 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 2, 2023 at 11:21 AM HST
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KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Georgia family who came to Hawaii to fulfill a loved one’s dying wish says their vacation ended with an assault they claim was racially motivated.

The Alford family says it happened over the weekend in Kona.

They arrived on Hawaii Island last Monday to take a deceased family member to her final resting place, but they never expected the trip to end at the hospital.

Sean Alford says on Sunday morning, his 19-year-old son returned from a night in Kona to find a group of men outside King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, where the family was staying.

“After a couple of minutes, they said, ‘Hey, let’s go to your room’, and he said, ‘No, we’re not going to my room,’ and he says it got awkward,” said Sean Alfrod, the teenager’s father.

“They took his shirt, his shoes, his phone, and his wallet.”

Alford says they also took his son’s key card, but he found a way into the hotel and woke up his parents. “He said, ‘I was robbed.’ Said they are right outside the hotel,” said Alford.

Alford says he and his wife, son, and a friend went outside, found the group, and tried talking to the group of men, but they turned hostile. “Anywhere between eight to 10 guys just literally beating the crap out of me,” said Alford. “The whole time I was done, they kept telling me, ‘Get up, white boy.’”

“They were yelling at my son, ‘What are you going to do, white boy? I thought I was going to die.”

Alfred says his wife was on the phone with 911 the whole time, and police arrived a short time later.

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii says race-based incidents involving tourists are not rare. The group has helped dozens over the years who have suffered assaults, harassment, or vandalism.

Alford said the hotel did not offer compensation in the wake of the attack.

He was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

“This is the opposite of aloha,” Alford said.

The hotel and Hawaii County Police have not yet responded to HNN’s request for comment.

Meantime, the Alfords are on their way back to Atlanta.

The King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel has issued a statement about the incident:

On July 30, 2023, the security team at King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort was alerted of an altercation near the hotel involving guests of the property. The safety of our guests and our team is always our number one priority, and we are working closely with the local authorities on this ongoing investigation.