Hawaii to pay $100,000 for Capitol scuffle over prayer

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Two people who said they were roughed up at the Capitol during a protest against religious prayer in the Legislature may receive a $100,000 settlement.

The Hawaii Attorney General Office has recommended the amount for Mitchell Kahle and Kevin Hughes.

Kahle is the leader of Hawaii Citizens for Separation of Church and State and Hughes is a cameraman, according to a report from the Courthouse News Service. Both sued the state, a sheriff’s department, the state department of public safety and officers of the Senate.

They claim they were roughed up by officers on the final day of the 2010 legislative session, when Kahle went to the Capitol to protest the prayer ritual and Hughes went to film his demonstration.

The complaint says, when then-Senate President Colleen Hanabusa introduced a reverend, who asked everyone to “bow with me in prayer,” Kahle said, “I object, my name is Mitch Kahle, and I object to this prayer on the grounds that it violates my rights under the Constitution of the United States."

He sat down, according to the complaint, and then three officers came over to forcibly remove him from the chamber and place him under arrest.

The suit was filed in federal court, and earlier this month the parties involved negotiated a proposed settlement agreement in a judge’s chamber.

The proposed agreement is now before lawmakers in the form of a bill, which describes “some sort of scuffle” and a “melee” that led to Kahle and Hughes suffering injuries.

The complaint claims that one of the officers is a former pro boxer who, along with other officers, took turns giving “body blows” to Kahle outside the Senate.

The complaint says, “Kahle had not committed any violation of law and sheriff deputies did not have probable cause to arrest [him] for any crime.”

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