A couple of weeks ago we wrote about a phone call we received alleging Gov. Neil Abercrombie struck a schoolteacher at the Kahului Airport on Sunday, Aug. 12.
We concluded that editorial by asking airport officials to let someone from our office view the surveillance tapes from that day.
We received a call from Paul Winters, airport security liaison, late last month saying that they had nothing to hide and granted our request to view security recordings of the time and location in question.
An editor was given a tour around the terminal and a briefing on the security camera system by Winters and Kathy Wade, assistant airport superintendent, last Friday.
They explained that cameras in the Hawaiian Airlines interisland gate area are fixed on the gates and doors that lead to the runway and the planes. Cameras do not show every square foot of the airport.
The video showed the governor, between his taller security official and an aide, emerging from the ramp at about 5:38 p.m. that day and disappearing out of the screen.
We watched for about 10 minutes as all the passengers deplaned.
And if there was commotion in the area, none of the waiting passengers cared.
We'd like to thank Winters and Wade for the tour and for making the tapes available.
Although the tapes in the gate area show nothing, the governor's deputy of communications, Donalyn Dela Cruz, acknowledged a teacher said "some words to the governor" about the Hawaii State Teachers Association contract. Dela Cruz said the governor advised the teacher to check with union leadership about the status of the contract. She said the teacher "wasn't satisfied with that" and shouted at the governor.
Dela Cruz said, "The governor didn't do anything, continued on his way." Security personnel kept the teacher "a good distance " from the governor. She said the allegation Abercrombie struck someone was "false."
So that should settle the matter, right? Well, not quite. We have now been informed that a woman approached a security guard after the incident and said her son had been assaulted by the governor. She was advised to file a report at the airport security office or with Maui police. No report was filed.
The day after the alleged incident the teacher involved called airport security and asked for copies of the surveillance tapes. He was told he would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request. A few days later, he called back and told security he had changed his mind.
Strange behavior - why would he be asking about tapes if, indeed, nothing happened?
The teacher involved in the incident did not return phone calls to our office. He has still not called back.
At this point, we would like to talk to the teacher involved in the incident. Please call the city desk at 242-6343.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.