A government "truther" public access TV crew trying to catch a glimpse of president Obama on vacation in Hawaii caught something else on video: police stalking them, confronting them, and then bashing their camera. That last act led to a bloodied finger.
The crew, part of the show "We Are Change Hawaii," initially drove up to the president's residence but was turned away and left without incident. They kept their camera rolling, however, and filmed vehicle searches as they were driving around. At a stoplight, the crew noticed they were being followed, and after pulling into a gas station, they were instantly surrounded by multiple officers and police vehicles.
KITV reports what happened next:
At this point Sherri Kane, who describes herself as an investigative journalist, looked into the camera and said, “Behind us we have the Secret Service following us now so this is kind of exciting.”
Exciting turned to scary after they pulled into a gas station. On their video, a police officer approached the car and said, “Stay in the car. Put that camera off of me.”
Producer Sativa Jones can be heard saying “OK.”
The women said police vehicles and up to five officers surrounded the car, demanded IDs and registration without explanation. Then without warning an officer reached into the car and grabbed Jones’ camera.
“He grabbed it out of my hand and then he slammed it on top of the car,” Jones said. She said the camera was damaged – the automatic lens cover no longer worked.
Jones’ fingers were gashed by the sharp edge on the camera mount. She said the officer appeared shaken by what he'd done and courteously showed her how to complain, writing his name and badge number on a card with contact information for the Honolulu Police Commission.
Kane said other officers on the scene would not let them make a criminal complaint against the officer who grabbed the camera.
“What went down was something that should not happen here in the United States of America,” Kane told KITV. “You have all of these police officers that could be looking at legitimate or people who are really trying to harm the president. Instead, you have so many of them on us.”
According to one Hawaiian blogger, the woman whose finger was cut and the man seen in the pink shirt are former aides to a former local councilwoman. The blogger even posted the following video appearing to show the pink-shirted man, RJ Hampton (who KITV calls "BJ"), singing an Obama jingle:
The TV program's website shows the group is a somewhat new age environmentalist organization with "truther" undertones. Originally started in New York City in response to 9/11, We Are Change is composed of about 200 national chapters. The "change," the site says, stands for "Coalition for Halting the Agenda of the Nefarious Global Elite," and the group models itself after Ghandi's peaceful resistance while looking for "answers to the questions that the powers-at-be refused to answer [regarding 9/11]." Parts of their website demand "9/11 truth."
"[W]e will never stop resisting your tyranny until every right guaranteed to us in the Constitution of the United States is granted to not only all Americans, but every single person on planet Earth," the group's site says. "These are inalienable rights guaranteed to every man, woman and child, and no one can ever take them away!"
A recent episode of "We Are Change Hawaii" shows Hampton hosting the show alongside Kane (both shown in the news video). Hampton is referred to as the "Unofficial Boss of the Universe":