Hawaii State Legislator Threats Criminal Charges - Then Withdraws Threat - Over Letter to the Editor
Hawaii State Rep. John Mizuno, a Democrat from Kalihi Valley, issued a press release on August 30 demanding an apology and retraction of a letter to the editor published in Hawaii Reporter on August 23.
He also threatened to file criminal and civil charges through the state attorney general over the posting, which Mizuno said included "false and misleading statements." But he later retracted that threat.
The letter, authored by James Macey, was a less than complimentary opinion piece about a hearing he attended on August 8 that was run by Mizuno and peace activists looking to quell violence in our society.
Macey said "The purpose of the meeting was designed to get a core group together to start a 'grassroots campaign' to convince state lawmakers and the public to enact new gun laws and restrictions and/or ban."
Hawaii Reporter never received Mizuno's press release outlining his demands until it was forwarded on August 31 by a member of the community. No media contacted Hawaii Reporter about Mizuno's complaint and threats.
Hawaii Reporter editor Malia Zimmerman asked Mizuno for an original copy of the press release, and informed him in writing of Hawaii Reporter's 10-year standing policy to publish all letters and opinions as long as they are comprehensive. Hawaii Reporter has published thousands of letters and and opinions from members of the public, including many who have testified before the legislature or the city council on various issues of interest to taxpayers. Mizuno is also a public figure, and his constituents are allowed to voice their thoughts and opinions on his actions.
In Mizuno's first email to Hawaii Reporter on September 2, he retracted his threat to file criminal charges and said he would be satisfied with Hawaii Reporter's willingness to publish his press release (minus the language that included his threat of filing criminal charges). Mizuno said several Hawaii Reporter readers contacted him about the letter.
Here is Mizuno's original press release:
"Rep. John Mizuno calls HAWAII REPORTER story on gun control false, demands correction and apology
"Honolulu, Hawaii . State Representative John Mizuno, Chair of the House Human Services Committee and a Democrat representing Kalihi Valley announced that he is seeking a public apology from the editor of the Hawaii Reporter concerning a news story which was printed online on Thursday, August 23, 2012.
"According to Rep. Mizuno, the news story erroneously states: "The purpose of the meeting was designed to get a core group together to start a 'grassroots campaign' to convince state lawmakers and the public to enact new gun laws and restrictions and/or ban. The meeting was a short notice meeting called because U.S. Senator Dan Inouye talked with State Rep. Mizuno on Monday and told him to start the campaign. Apparently Senator Inouye wants quick action to take advantage of current gun discussions in the press...
"The information provided in the Hawaii Reporter was completely false and misleading, as was the story by James Macey," said Rep. Mizuno. "I am extremely upset that this person was allowed to get such a blatantly false story in the Hawaii Reporter. I have worked with many reporters in Hawaii and have much respect for them. However, this story, which was recently brought to my attention in the Hawaii Reporter, was so fabricated and filled with lies that I am asking for a public apology from the Hawaii Reporter. I ask that they print this Press Release in their news section,* ((and that the state Attorney General's Office look into these false allegations for possible criminal charges)). I will also submit this press release and contact Senator Inouye to explain the situation."
Inouye spokesman Peter Boylan said Thursday, "Neither Senator Inouye nor his staff asked State Rep. John Mizuno to do anything on this issue. The Senator's office is in no way involved with the Representative's efforts."
Hawaii already has among the most strict firearms laws in the nation, and Macey's letter worried a number of Hawaii's firearms owners and Second Amendment advocates.
Hawaii Reporter did ask Mizuno to explain why what was said at his meeting that led Macey to believe he was planning to seek additional gun control measures, but he did not address that in his September 2 letter.
Macey, contacted again by Hawaii Reporter after Mizuno's press release, stood by his August 23 report.
"Rep. Mizuno told everyone the reason for the short notice meeting was because Senator Inouye told him that Monday (would) start a grassroots anti-gun movement to take advantage of current events in the press. The activist in the meeting were stating outrageous things, as I said. There was a photographer there taking pictures and I assume they were from Rep Mizuno's office. I could point out who said what from those pictures," Macey said. "I have to stand by what I wrote."
Mizuno's group will meet again on September 5 on the third floor of the state capitol. The meeting will be sure to bring together so called peace activists and Second Amendment advocates to discuss violence in our community.
Editor's note: *Mizuno retracted the statement from the original press release "that the state Attorney General's Office look into these false allegations for possible criminal charges."
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