HONOLULU (AP) – A white man who says he was the victim of a hate crime when two Native Hawaiian men assaulted him while he was repairing a home he bought in their remote Maui village on Wednesday testified that his attackers were racially motivated, although he admitted that racist comments cannot be heard in the video shot during the 2014 beating.

Christopher Kunzelman said the men beat him and told him that no white man would ever live in the village of Kahakuloa, a comment not heard in the footage. Kaulana Alo-Kaonohi and Levi Aki Jr. are on trial for a federal count each of a hate crime. Their defense attorneys do not deny the assault, but say their actions were motivated by Kunzelman’s legitimate and disrespectful attitude, not his race.

Alo-Kaonohi and Aki punched, kicked and used a shovel to beat Kunzelman, leaving him with injuries including a concussion, two broken ribs, and head and abdominal trauma, US prosecutors said.

When questioned by Salina Kanai, an Alo-Kaonohi federal advocate, Kunzelman acknowledged that the men were enraged that Kunzelman had previously cut the locks on the village gates, but did not mention his race.

“He’s not talking about the color of your skin, he’s not talking about your race,” Kanai said of Alo-Kaonohi, who is heard in the video calling him “brah” and “buddy”.

Kanai said that Alo-Kaonohi, during a cursing tirade about locks, did not call Kunzelman a “haole,” a Hawaiian word that can mean white person.

Kunzelman replied: “Exactly, not yet”.

More than five minutes into the incident, which was recorded by the cameras of Kunzelman’s vehicle parked outside the house, there was only an expression of anything racial, Kanai said.

“You’re a haole, huh,” Aki said in the tape.

The video shows what’s going on downstairs, including Aki walking with a shovel on his shoulder. The video captures the sound coming from the upstairs where Kunzelman said he was beaten, but not the images.

What you don’t hear in the video are the men calling him “haole” in a derogatory way and threatening to shoot him with his own gun, even though they were screaming, Kunzelman said.

Kunzelman testified that he and his wife decided to move to Maui from Scottsdale, Arizona after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He said that his wife loved the island.

A Hawaiian woman visited him in his dreams and told him to buy the dilapidated oceanfront home, he said, which he and his wife bought with open eyes for $ 175,000 after stumbling upon an online ad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *