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State briefs, Feb. 8

Maui council approves bill to punish hosts of underaged drinking

WAILUKU, Maui — The Maui County Council in Hawaii has unanimously approved a bill that would make the host of a gathering that contains underaged drinking liable for the infraction.

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The law is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1, the Maui News reported Saturday.

If a host is found to have allowed underaged drinking, he or she will be fined $200 for their first offense. A host will be fined $500 for a second violation and $1,000 for a third violation within a 12-month period.

Subsequent infractions within the same 12-month period may require reimbursements to police, fire or other emergency response services.

The bill defines a person who is responsible as one who “conducts, aids, allows, permits or facilitates a gathering where an underage person possesses or consumes intoxicating liquor.” Gatherings are defined as settings with more than one person.

“This will be another tool in the proverbial tool box to help keep young people in our community safe from intoxicating liquor,” City Council member Mike Molina said.

US soldier charged with murder; wife found dead in Schofield Barracks

HONOLULU — A U.S. Army soldier has been charged with murder after his wife was found dead at Hawaii’s Schofield Barracks.

Army Spc. Raul Hernandez Perez of Florida was charged in the killing of 25-year-old Selena Roth. Roth was found dead in a trash can on Jan. 13 after concerned family members requested a welfare check, Hawaii News Now reported.

Roth and Hernandez Perez had filed for divorce in October.

“Our brigade and the Army community are heartbroken by Selena’s death,” said Col. Theodore Travis in a statement. “We have extended our condolences to Selena’s family, friends and loved ones.”

A trial date has not yet been set, the Army said.

Hernandez Perez did not respond to a request for comment by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Tuesday.

Police study: Honolulu cops use force most on Native Hawaiians

HONOLULU — A Honolulu Police Department study found that its officers used the most force against Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

The study presented on Wednesday found that 34.5% of all use of force incidents occurred against Native Hawaiians.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders were also the group most likely to be arrested by Honolulu officers.

The ethnic group represented 38.1% of total arrests in 2019.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders comprised just 10% of the state in 2019. The police department studied use of force cases from 2015 to 2019.

The study, the first of its kind for the police department, also said most use of force cases occurred in the downtown area, Hawaii News Now reported.

More men were subject to use of force than women over the study’s timeframe. The majority of total cases occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

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The report indicates that use of force cases hiked substantially in 2017, but HPD Assistant Chief Rade Vanic said the increase was due in part to a new reporting system that provided further documentation when force was used.

Honolulu police were most likely to use pepper spray as their weapon of choice, with a Taser the second-most common. The baton, firearm and neck restraint were used almost evenly over the five-year study.

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