Paramedics today rescued a North Carolina woman who suffered multiple traumatic injuries after being sucked into a rip tide created by propellors of an activity craft off the shore at Ka’anapali.
The 65 year-old woman was transported by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center after the propellor action sucked her into its vortex, causing extreme injuries to her arms and legs. The incident happened this morning fronting Whaler’s Village, according to a statement from paramedics. Her condition was reported as “serious,” and no identies have been released yet.
The incident happend shortly after 11 a.m. today after the woman entered the water – moments before the double-hulled catamaran was also launched from the beach.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that it will not review the appropriateness of stun guns used by police on suspects, including a case in which Seattle officers repeatedly used a Taser on a pregnant woman during a 2004 traffic stop, nor in a 2006 domestic dispute on Maui – where a woman reportedly inyterfered while officers tried to arrest her husband.
In the Hawaii case, the judges found that Maui police likely used excessive force and violated the rights of Jayzel Mattos, who had called police on her husband during a domestic dispute in 2006. An officer shot her with a Taser in the dart-mode, which not only causes excruciating pain but also causes temporary paralysis.
The court determined Mattos did not pose a threat nor was resisting the officers when she failed to get out of the way while an officer moved to arrest her husband.
In a closely watched case, the high court on Tuesday refused to hear appeals from three Seattle officers and police in Hawaii, or the people who were stun-gunned by officers.
Some law enforcement groups had hoped the court would clarify the issue.
The Seattle City Attorney’s Office had urged the court to let stand a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the officers could not be sued in federal court by the woman, Malaika Brooks, but also determined that they had used excessive force by deploying stun guns.
“Fortunately the Court recognized this regrettable but unique case to be inappropriate as a basis for judicial guidance for using Tasers consistently with the Fourth Amendment,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a written statement Tuesday. “It is important to recognize that the Taser use under the circumstances in Brooks is no longer permitted under SPD policy.”
City attorneys argued that the appeals-court ruling had addressed the use of Tasers “in the particular, atypical circumstances of this case,” and not the “sky is falling” interpretation of the Seattle officers.
Brooks claimed the officers violated her constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones allowed her case to continue, declining in June 2008 to grant the officers immunity for performing their official duties. Jones said Brooks posed no threat to anyone and that her rights were clearly violated.
A divided three-member panel of the 9th Circuit then overturned Jones’ ruling that allowed Brooks’ civil-rights lawsuit to go to trial.
The city appealed, and the panel voted 2-1 to overturn that order, sparking a rare decision to let a larger, “en banc” panel of 11 appellate court judges rehear the case. In October, that panel overturned the smaller panel on a vote of 6-5, finding that the three officers cannot be sued in federal court, despite evidence they used excessive force, because the law governing Taser use was unclear at the time.
But in the ruling, the court said Brooks could still sue the officers on a state claim of assault and battery. Brooks is now pursing a state claim in federal court, but no longer can seek attorney fees.
Although granting immunity to the three Seattle officers, the majority concluded the Taser use was improper and could be a violation of her civil rights.
A portion of that panel’s ruling is what the Supreme Court declined to hear. The court also declined on Tuesday to hear Brooks’ request that it review the 9th Circuit’s finding that she can’t sue the officer on federal claims.
The appeals court combined the Brooks case with another Taser case out of Hawaii. The appellate judges concluded that the use of a Taser in some circumstances could be considered excessive force and expose officers to lawsuits.
Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Paez said the circumstances in both the Seattle and Hawaii cases were such that a jury could find the officers overstepped constitutional bounds.
In the Brooks case, Paez and the majority concluded that Brooks’ traffic violation was not serious and that she never posed a serious threat to the officers.
Brooks was stopped for speeding in a school zone. When she refused to sign the citation, the officers decided to arrest her.
Brooks refused to get out of the car, and resisted officers’ attempts to remove her. The court found that while she did resist arrest and refused to sign the ticket or leave her car, that in itself did not justify the use of a Taser on her thigh, arm and neck in short succession, the opinion says.
“We note that Brooks bears some responsibility for the escalation of this incident,” Paez wrote.
However, the judges considered two “overwhelmingly salient” factors that weighed in Brooks’ favor: She had told the officers she was within 60 days of delivering her baby, and that after learning of this, the officers took time to discuss how they should proceed and even where they should apply the Taser.
The officers were identified as Juan Ornelas, Donald Jones and Sgt. Steven Daman.
“The second overwhelmingly salient factor is that (Officer Jones) tased Brooks three times over the course of less than one minute,” the opinion said.
“Three tasings in such rapid succession provided no time for Brooks to recover from the extreme pain she experienced, gather herself and reconsider her refusal to comply.”
Brooks did not suffer serious injuries, aside from small scars from the Taser. Her child was born healthy, the opinion notes.
Over the objection of Seattle city attorneys, an attorney for the officers, Ted Buck, filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, saying the appeals-court ruling “stated a claim of excessive force but did so without an explanation as to why, and without any mention or analysis of what would have been an appropriate alternative response.”
Buck was later replaced by another attorney, Robert Christie, after the city asked him to withdraw from the case. But the petition remained in place.
Seattle police changed their policy after the incident with Brooks to no longer require drivers to sign tickets, and state law was subsequently changed along the same lines.
Up until now, the use of a Taser in the so-called “drive-stun” mode – when it is applied directly to the target rather than used to fire darts – has been considered a relatively low-force “pain compliance” tool for officers to use on resisting subjects.
The ruling raised concerns that officers will be reluctant to use it now, and will resort to other methods, such as arm-holds, batons or pepper-spray, the officers’ attorneys have argued.
Brook’s attorney, Eric Zubel, said he’s satisfied with the fact that the 9th Circuit ruling now becomes precedent in the largest federal judicial circuit in the country, comprising nine Western states, including California, and two territories.
“This authority is going to have effect across the country,” Zubel said. “I feel we’ve made a difference.”
Brooks will now pursue a civil assault claim against the officers, most likely in state court, Zubel said.
Brooks declined an interview. Zubel said the 2004 incident and an eight-year legal battle, including a criminal prosecution and three appeals in federal court, has been difficult for his client. “She’s been through a tremendous amount of emotional stress,” he said.
Two large police groups, the National Tactical Officers Association and the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, filed briefs with the Supreme Court asking the ruling to be struck down.
(Report provided by the Associated Press, Seattle Times, and Bellingham Herald)
HONOLULU – A fisherman is safe after his 48-foot boat capsized and sank approximately 15 miles south of Oahu at approximately 5:30 Sunday.
The mariner was able to transmit a mayday call on VHF channel 16 which was received by Coast Guardsearch and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. He was also able to active an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon which transmitted his position. Additionally, the location of the VHF transmission was calculated using the newly installed Rescue 21 system, which triangulates the position of any VHF broadcast originating near the Hawaii Islands.
Crews aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Honolulu, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter were launched to assist. The RB-M arrived and safely rescued the fisherman. He was transferred to awaiting EMS at Honolulu Harbor for further treatment.
The fishing vessel Robin 2008 capsized and reportedly sank. At this time, there are no signs of pollution.
This mayday call was the first received using the Coast Guard’s new Rescue 21 technology in the Hawaiian Islands. By harnessing global positioning and cutting-edge communications technology, Rescue 21 enables the Coast Guard to perform all missions with greater agility and efficiency.
The Coast Guard advises all mariners to have appropriate safety equipment aboard their vessels, to include life jackets, flares, a VHF radio and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.
More information regarding Rescue 21 can be found at the following link: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/rescue21/project.asp
More information on boating safety can be found at the following link: http://www.uscgboating.org/.
HONOLULU—The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) Hawai‘i Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) has completed its investigation of the September 21, 2011 zip line accident that claimed the life of one employee of GoZip LLC (GoZip) and seriously injured another. The investigation concluded that the tower collapsed because the soil in which the ground anchors were installed failed to withstand the load from the tower, cables and rider. HIOSH concluded that GoZip failed to take reasonable precautions to assure that the anchors could support the load.
“For zip line installers, this tragic accident demonstrates the importance of basing design and construction decisions on measurable objective information, for the safety of workers as well as the general public,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine. “Unfortunately, this is another workplace fatality that was preventable and we share the sorrow of the family, friends, co-workers and others affected by this incident.”
HIOSH standards require that employers do everything reasonable and necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees. The owner of GoZip is a member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), an organization that serves the zip line industry, and served on an ACCT committee that wrote standards for installing zip line courses. The ACCT standards require that guy systems on zip line towers, including ground anchors, be capable of supporting two times the expected load. HIOSH found that GoZip did not use any objective methods to verify that the anchors it installed could support the weight of the towers, cables, and riders or that the guy system could meet the requirements of the ACCT standard.
Citations under contest by the employer include:
1. Failure to do everything reasonable and necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees by not assuring that the ground anchors and guy cable system at Line 8 could support the loads imposed by the tower, zip lines, and weight of human riders without failure.
2. Failure to assure that the side rails of an extension ladder used to provide access to the Line 7 landing tower, from which employees crossed a suspended bridge to the Line 8 takeoff tower, extended at least three feet above the edge of the landing surface.
3. Failure to ensure that employees riding the zip line used helmets.
The accident occurred on the morning of September 21, 2011 while GoZip employees were adjusting and testing cables on Line 8, the longest leg of a zip line course that GoZip was building along the Honoli‘i Stream above Pauka‘a on the Island of Hawai‘i. One employee was test riding the zip line and another was on the platform of a tower at the upper end of Line 8 when the ground anchors supporting the tower abruptly pulled out of the ground. The poles that held the platform came out of the ground and the tower collapsed, causing the cables to sag into the stream valley. The employee riding the zip line fell approximately 200’ and suffered fatal injuries. The employee on the platform fell approximately 30’ and suffered serious injuries. A professional engineer hired by GoZip to conduct geotechnical testing following the accident concluded that the subsoil in which the anchors were installed was Pahala Ash, a fine particulate mineral that has the appearance of normal soil but loses up to 90% of its natural strength when disturbed. The engineering report stated that much of the soil along the Hamakua coast of Hawai‘i Island that appears to be red dirt might in fact be Pahala Ash. This raises serious concerns about the stability of structures that rely on ground anchors for support, including zip line towers at other locations on the island.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii – Artists across the island are gearing up for Lahaina’s Annual Poster Contest sponsored by LahainaTown Action Committee and Lahaina Arts Society. Now in its 24th year, the poster contest offers a grand prize of $2,500. The winning art becomes the limited edition official Lahaina poster for the next year.
The competition is open to all artists. The artwork must be original and unpublished with the image being a recognizable scene of Lahaina. Past winners of this prestigious competition include Carleton Kinkade, George Allen, Stephen Burr, Jim Kingwell,RonaldoMacedo, C.S. Perry, Erin Dertner, John Cosby, Daryl Millard, and Michael Krahn.
In addition to the $2,500 first prize, there are cash prizes for the Lahaina Arts Society Award, Most Promising Artist, People’s Choice and Honorable Mention. The official Lahaina Poster is limited to 1,000 prints. These posters are popular items for art enthusiasts on Maui as well as from around the world. The winning poster will be sold at the Lahaina Visitor Center and also sold at fine galleries throughout the town. Winners will be announced at a reception on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 6 – 8pm. The reception will be held at the Old Lahaina Jail Gallery, located at the Old Lahaina Courthouse.
All Maui entries must be delivered to the LahainaTown Action Committee office located on the 2nd floor of the Old Lahaina Courthouse in Banyan Tree Park. Entries must be received on Friday, August 3rd between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Off-island entries must be post marked by July 30, 2012. The correct address is: 648 Wharf Street Ste #103, Lahaina, HI 96761.
Prize winners will be chosen from juried entries that will be on exhibit in the Old Lahaina Jail Gallery, from Monday August 6th– through Sunday, September 2, 2012. There is a non-refundable fee of $20 per entry. The contest is limited to five(5) entries per artist. Work must be framed, ready for hanging (using screw eyes and wire) and priced for sale. Pieces that are incomplete (wet paint) or not ready for hanging will not be accepted.
For more information and an application, go to the Lahaina Town Action Committee website at www.visitlahaina.com or call Lynn Donovan at Lahaina Town Action Committee at 808 667-9175.
Candidates for U.S. Senate face off tonight in a one-hour forum on MeTV, Oceanic Digital Channel 126, and on KITV.com.
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and her primary opponent Ed Case will appear on the same stage for the first time tonight in a forum hosted by the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association in Waikiki.
The forum also features Republican candidate John Carroll. KITV4 News will televise the one-hour forum in its entirety at 7 p.m. on our sister station MeTV, Oceanic Digital Channel 126 and streaming live at KITV.com.
Also, today campiagn staff for Ms. Hirono announced that she will officially file for the office at 1 p.m., tomorrow, in the State Office of Elections in Honolulu.
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