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Man to finish 60-day jail term for assault at Makena

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A Lahaina man was taken into custody Jan. 5 to finish serving a 60-day jail term for assaulting and threatening two men at Makena State Park.

Kadeem Johnson, 31, had agreed to serve the jail term as part of a plea deal. The prosecution agreed not to seek enhanced sentencing under the law applying to hate crimes.

According to police, an investigation showed Johnson confronted the men and allegedly made homophobic slurs before throwing things at them at about 5 p.m. July 12, 2020. One man reported suffering a concussion after he was placed in a headlock and struck in the jaw, police said. Another man reported he was struck in the face.

A declaration filed in court by defense attorney Gerald Johnson said the confrontation started when a drunken man in the group called Johnson by a racial slur. Kadeem Johnson was outnumbered at least three to one when the group “surrounded him and continued to taunt him,” the declaration said. “Finally, Kadeem told the man to shut up, hit him in the face, and then walked away,” according to the declaration.

“I’ll say alcohol was involved,” Johnson said in court Jan. 5. “I’m never like that, as far as a violent person.”

Referring to the two men who were assaulted, Johnson said, “I’m very sorry about the incident and I hope they’re OK and nothing further comes of that between me and them.

“I’m not looking for any further trouble with those guys,” he said.

Johnson had pleaded no contest to second-degree assault, third-degree assault and second-degree terroristic threatening.

In asking the court to follow the plea agreement in sentencing him, Johnson said he had made arrangements to sublet his rental and be on leave from his job while he serves the jail term.

Second Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman, who followed the plea agreement, said she was “extremely concerned” after reading the police report.

“It appeared to be a random act of violence,” Hamman said. “Also, it appeared to be discriminatory, directed at individuals just based on their sexual orientation.”

She said she also read a letter from Johnson’s employer saying he is hardworking and helps others.

“I hope that this is just a one-time incident that occurred and this is not going to happen again,” she said.

Based on the defense declaration, “it looks like these other individuals are not completely innocent in their behavior towards you,” Hamman said.

“But you have to remain in control of yourself and it looks like you did lose control,” she said.

Johnson was placed on four years’ probation. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to complete anger management treatment.

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