By Michael Daly – Karen, a long-time charcoal portrait artist, was arrested September 20, 2012, on the sidewalk of Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki for the second time in a month.
Save Waikiki Sidewalk was formed in 2010 to defend free speech and the Public Forum zone of public sidewalks and parks and especially the areas of use by artists in Waikiki. This was done in response to city/corporate partnerships leading up to APEC 2011 which unlawfully aimed at getting rid of street artists and facilitating erosion of the public ownership of city sidewalks.
Karen’s arrest represents another stab of the public’s interest and a determined corporate takeover of the city and it’s official police department: HPD. The two sister Waikiki business associations with trans-national corporate membership instigate and in the past even openly fund the city in return for specified police sidewalk “clean-ups”.
The arrest is part of a sudden new attack started in July. In August more that 23 artists were arrested without probable cause. Artists in 2003 won a settlement and a restraining order against the police.
Major Bode reporting to Waikiki Neighborhood Board this month said a Sergeant had been posted to the street artist sweeps and undercover agents were setting street artists up for arrest by pretending to be audience and transferring marked dollar bills to them saying this is illegal “peddling”. He told street artists outside the meeting: “If you go on the sidewalk, you will be arrested.”
However, street artists as well as newspaper vending machines are allowed to ask for and accept money on the sidewalk as ruled in the Federal level Ninth Circuit court: “Jinggles” case – NMI PERRY v. LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT No. 96-55545.
These attacks in Honolulu represent a class war of at least a decade.
In 2003 Steve Miller won a settlement (Civil No. 00-1-2039-06 VLC) and the Honolulu Police Department was issued a restraining order against approaching street artist, performers and free voices.
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Michael Daly is an artist and activist and co-founder of Save Waikiki Sidewalk – Reach him at email@example.com