HONOLULU (AP) – Twenty-one travellers arrested on suspicion of violating Hawaii’s coronavirus quarantine order have agreed to leave the state because of threats, a member of the group said on Monday.
Kendra Carter said some of the harassment involved death threats.
“People started rolling up to our house calling us all types of names. Telling us to starve and a whole bunch of stuff. We’ve been getting death threats in our inboxes,” Carter said. “People telling us to get off the island.”
Carter wasn’t arrested with the others last week because police decided to let her and another woman stay with their children.
Arresting them would have meant calling child protective services, which would have meant exposing more people, Hawaii County police Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins said.
The group’s members spent two years travelling Central America and are misunderstood, Carter said.
“People like to call us a cult because we like to live a certain lifestyle,” she said about their vegan diet and a belief that “everybody is different shades of brown.” Carter said the group didn’t realise that Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine on all people arriving in the state would be strictly enforced. Court documents said members of the group were seen at a beach park on June 8.
A video posted on YouTube showed their leader, Eligio Bishop, petting a sea turtle, police said in the documents. Bishop, 38, pleaded no contest on Monday to the quarantine violation, said Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth. “We take our quarantine and our safety very seriously,” he said. “We’re not going to tolerate people violating the law.”
The group “probably spent more time in jail on their trip to Hawaii than they spent outside of jail,” Roth said.
Bishop’s attorney, Evans Smith, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Attorney Donald Wilkerson, who represents two other men arrested with the group, said the other cases will be dismissed but would be refiled if they return to Hawaii and violate the quarantine.