Tempers flare at Coco Palms court hearing

Tempers flare after bailiff attempts to remove woman in Coco Palms court hearing
Updated: Dec. 30, 2017 at 12:11 AM HST
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LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A video shows a clash erupting in a Kauai courtroom when a bailiff attempted to remove a woman before a hearing involving the Coco Palms resort.

The video was posted on The Garden Island newspaper website.

It shows the bailiff in the courtroom of District Judge Michael Soong trying to carry out a woman named Debra Kekaualua from the back of the courtroom. It looks like she's trying to stay, and then he appears to drop her.

Others in the courtroom immediately react angrily, yelling "Call the sheriffs!" and "Don't touch her like that!"

The bailiff then orders everyone out of the courtroom. At one point he can be heard saying that he was trying to remove her, and that she resisted.

After the room is cleared, screaming is heard behind the closed doors. People rush and open the doors of the courtroom and are immediately confronted by sheriff's deputies who block them from entering.

"Four cops took me out," Kekaualua says in another video taken outside the courthouse. "This is what they did," showing cuts on her wrist.

"I did nothing," she says. "I was sitting in front of my son, and he said something and I turned around and asked, 'what?'"

It's unclear precisely what caused the dispute, but reports indicate it had to do with cellphones in the courtroom.

Some of the people involved have been claiming rights to the land beneath the Coco Palms resort. The Native Hawaiians say they are descendants of Kauai's last ruling king and queen and have a birthright to the property, as well as the documents to prove it.

The Coco Palms has been closed since it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The developer is off-island but said the project to redevelop the resort is still on track to reopen as a Hyatt-managed property in 2019.

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