Video shows unprovoked attack of Pahoa homeless man

Video shows unprovoked attack of Pahoa homeless man
Published: Jun. 10, 2016 at 9:39 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 11, 2016 at 4:34 PM HST
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John Hartley (Image: Hawaii News Now)
John Hartley (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Sarah Williams (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Sarah Williams (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Early Tuesday, a homeless man was sitting in front of Pahoa Village Museum when he was doused with cold water, shot with mace and punched several times.

The attack on the chronically homeless man was caught on surveillance video, which was subsequently posted to social media.

Victim John Hartley, who has been homeless for eight years, said the attack was unprovoked.

"I was blinded that night for five hours," Hartley said. "The next day, I didn't realize, I had the oils in my hands and I rubbed my face and I was blinded for three more hours."

Hartley, who lost his right leg in 2015, is something of a fixture in Pahoa. He's always got his dog right beside him.

And onlookers are calling the attack a black eye for the rural Big Island town.

The attack happened about 1:30 a.m., and witnesses say the perpetrator manages the Lava Shack bar in Pahoa.

Sarah Williams, of Pahoa Village Museum, says everyone knows Hartley is harmless. "It's interesting how much the town values him," she said. "People care that he's cared about."

Williams does what she can to help the homeless in Pahoa, offering them food and a place to stay in the back of the museum.

In the wake of the attack, a second homeless man has said he was also assaulted about two months ago by a worker from Lava Shack.

"Somebody came up behind me and ran pepper spray across my eyes then smashed me on the head with one of those batons with the round tip on them," Chris Carpenter said.

The manager of Lava Shack told Hawaii News Now the situation is regretful.

He also said he's tired of homeless people congregating near his business and leaving trash everywhere.

"We are very ashamed and disappointed on the way things were handled," said Chris Mohr, manager of Lava Shack.

"It's our top priority to keep this establishment and the places around us safe and clean. I do hope this shines a light on what it's been like to be a small business owner in Pahoa and be next to the Pahoa museum."

Hartley has filed a police report and said he plans to prosecute.

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