Two Hawaiian men were convicted of a hate crime after punching, kicking and beating a white man with a shovel in Maui in 2014.
Kaulana Alo-Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr. were reportedly motivated by Christopher Kunzelman’s run when the incident happened in the village of Kahakuloa, where he was renovating his recently purchased home, the New York Post reported Friday.
This week they were jailed pending sentencing in March and face 10 years in prison.
The outlet added that they were indicted by a federal grand jury in late 2020 for hate crimes after the Justice Department made the decision to prosecute.
2 Native Hawaiians Guilty Of Hate Crime By Beating White Man https://t.co/ux60V3GQcu pic.twitter.com/ar9PRdgR1a
— New York Post (@nypost) November 18, 2022
Video footage of the incident was captured as someone out of sight said, “I hurry up, you’ve already hit me on the head”, to which another person replied, “Brah, stop being a little (expletive) and hurry the (expletive) up.”
In the clip, two men were seen pacing the ground floor of the house while one of them held a shovel:
In state court, Alo-Kaonohi previously pleaded no contest to felony assault and was placed on probation, while Aki pleaded no contest to terrorism threat and was sentenced to probation and a long prison term, according to the Job.
“The federal trial was solely to determine whether they were guilty of a hate crime,” the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday.
Kunzelman had decided to move to the area in early 2014 when his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), KHON reported in 2019.
The outlet added that during the 2014 attack, the men also beat his disabled uncle.
He apparently decided not to shoot the men with his gun but threw it near the beach moments before being hit with the shovel:
The defendants’ lawyers claimed that it was not a hate crime because it was motivated by the attitude of the victim, the Job indicated report.
“The men were upset that Kunzelman cut the locks on the village gates, their lawyers said. Kunzelman said he did it because residents locked him in while he repaired his new home. He testified that he wanted to provide the village with better locks and distribute the keys to the inhabitants,” the article continued.
The victim, whose family has since moved to Puerto Rico, claimed that during the beating the men said no white people would ever live there and that he had the wrong skin color.
Although the comments weren’t heard in the video, Aki said, “You’re a haole, huh,” a term used to describe a foreigner, especially a white foreigner. Lawyers asserted that it was not used in a pejorative manner.