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Greenwell facing traffic charges after arrest (July 17)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Kelly Greenwell

Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell faces an Aug. 12 court date to respond to charges he resisted an order to stop a motor vehicle, refusal to produce documents, resisting arrest and a speeding citation.

The charges stem from a 1:38 p.m. Saturday, July 17 traffic stop on Queen Kaahumanu Highway near the Kona police station, said Asst. Chief Henry Tavares.

Tavares said an officer using a laser clocked Greenwell’s vehicle doing 51 mph in a 35 mph zone and attempted to pull him over. Greenwell at first refused, then did pull over, exited his vehicle and “became confrontational,” Tavares said.

Greenwell also refused to produce his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, Tavares said.

He was arrested at 2 p.m. and now has the three charges pending, as well as the citation for speeding, Tavares said. Greenwell was released on his own recognizance at 3:10 p.m. and a court date has been set for Aug. 12.

Tavares reminded drivers to obey all traffic laws.

“When you make the decision to violate laws, there are consequences,” he said.

When an officer flips on his lights, Tavares said, drivers should pull over safely to the right side of the road, remain in the vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them.

Greenwell issued the following statement Monday:

On Saturday, July 17, 2010 at approximately 1:00p.m., six or eight vehicles, one of which was mine, were traveling north on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway just beyond the Makala Blvd. intersection, where the speed limit increases from 35 to 45 mph (we at the County Council approved this increase perhaps a year ago). We were being scanned by a police officer parked on the rise eight or nine hundred yards beyond the intersection, near the old 35 mph sign which was supposed to be removed when the new 45 mph sign was installed. For whatever reason, he chose to focus on my car and flagged me down individually. I demanded to know what the reason was and why he chose me, and after identifying myself as the Councilmember from District 8, I attempted to get out of the car to discuss what is an apparent speed trap.

About an hour later, I’m in the police station handcuffed and being booked for a list of charges never disclosed. I’m sure they will include resisting arrest and perhaps disobeying the threats or “orders” of a police officer.

So, what happened?

Perhaps I was recognized as the Councilmember opposing the police for what I believe to be barbaric tactics in subduing the marijuana advocates over the last several years or for their refusal to obey the law which restricts the prosecution for possession of marijuana.

Perhaps I was recognized as the advocate for civil behavior by police officers, opposing the increasing harsh and militant tactics of the present force.

Or perhaps it was simply me.

What was really the crime? That I took issue with being singled out for going 51 in a 45 mph speed zone, or maybe it was that a patrol officer was using an anomaly in posted signage to trap motorists from his vantage point when he should have been traveling with the traffic? Was it that as a traffic officer he should have been aware that highway speed is first a function of traffic flow? Or could it be that a 70 year old man, elected to the County Council by the people of the 8th District to watch over the conduct of all County Departments(including the Police), doing the job he was hired to do, was threatened with a laser gun (lethal to him because of his Epilepsy) if he didn’t lie down on the pavement and allow the officer to handcuff him (I wouldn’t do that) or because he had to sit handcuffed in a cage in the back of a police cruiser for a half hour with no air and all the windows sealed?

Or was it that when I asked that the pills to control my Epileptic seizures be retrieved from my car in the event that my stress level required them, this request, while responded to, was ultimately ignored. Was it that I, a person so proud of his community record be given the option of leaving his hands shackled behind him or tethered to a post like a goat while being booked as a criminal? Or is the crime that the ethics of a modern police department is now merely about control rather than being there to help?

Or maybe there was really no crime at all, maybe I have been trying to live in a world that no longer exists, maybe seventy years is too long to live in one place.

Kelly Greenwell
County Council Member
District 8

12 Responses to “Greenwell facing traffic charges after arrest (July 17)”

  1. Aloha says:

    If you indeed have uncontrolled epilepsy (which you plainly STATE you do in the above comments) then not only do you have no business driving, it is actually AGAINST THE LAW for you to drive (at any speed). You need to bring this to the attention of your doctor so he can contact the DMV. Also, as a police officer once told me, "when the lion goes after the herd of zebra, he can only catch one at a time." As you know, the law of the jungle says they go after "the old and the sick". I guess you're both… Also, just b/c you're a councilman doesn't mean you are above the law- as you [plainly believe you are…

  2. No Sympathy says:

    Maybe the police officer didn't realize that council members are allowed to speed and disregard traffic laws with impunity. Perhaps Greenwell should post a sign on his vehicle- "Reckless Council Member Driving".

  3. HaoleCat says:

    At the end of the day, Mr. Greenwell you were speeding. You were caught. Sometimes life is just that simple.

  4. Relax! says:

    So is there a new 45 mph sign before the old 35 mph sign? If so, then this is a speed trap.

    Even if it is a speed trap, that's no excuse to become confrontational with the officer. You stop for the police lights and produce your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance when requested. The average citizen does this and a council-member must do the same. Council members are not above the law. It applies to them just like the rest of us.

    Epilepsy is much more common than most people know and is commonly controlled with medication. Nobody should be calling for the removal of a driver's license because somebody has epilepsy that is being controlled by medication.

    Excessive stress can cause breakthrough seizures. The officer should have given him his pills to prevent a seizure that could have been triggered by the stress of the situation. First responders need to understand this about epilepsy. Of course, it would have helped a lot if Mr. Greenwell had kept his cool and relaxed in the first place.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Epilepsy is cause for you to be evaluated to see if you should be allowed to drive and in most states the police officer sends a request to the state drivers license office stateing the facts of his request that you be examined.
    In most states a speed limit is set by the state department of transportation after a traffic survey…not by the whim of the county council. Although I do agree the speed limit is too slow, considering the lack of driveways, I don't think the county council should be writing traffic laws based on their perceived expertise or request of a voter asking for a sign by his house.
    It's ironic you were caught in a questionable speed zone made up by yourself and other council members. I don't understand how a laser speed gun is a threat to your Epilepsy…it's not a taser.

  6. Goodbye Greenwell says:

    If the police officer could spot you and single you out (through your windshield) (because you are Kelly Greenwell) from 8 to 9 hundred yards as you put it (by the way that is approx 1/2 mile) then that Officer deserves an Accommodation for his police work and excellent vision.

  7. Goodbye Greenwell says:

    Bottom line Kelly, you broke the law, PERIOD.
    If you obeyed the speed limit, you would not have been handcuffed and treated like a criminal.
    If you had stayed in your car and obeyed the officers orders, you would not have been handcuffed and treated like a criminal.
    As a council member, you must be smart enough to know that you have to drive the speed limit and obey the police. Bottom line, you got what you deserved.

    Hopefully in November the people of West Hawaii will take away your status of Council Member.

  8. Goodbye Greenwell says:


    In November remember this is the same person that wanted to bring hundreds of Terrorist from Guantanamo Bay to live on OUR island amoung us.
    Also, he wants the decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs.
    Like we dont have enough issues already, we need a bunch of Terrorists and more drug users running around Kona.


  9. Gerald Lucero says:

    Councilmen Greenwell, We do have a process for your side of the story, its just not open to TV, for sure, I personally do not care what side the state take with your issues, you were in fact speeding, a dangerous thing to do at any time in a vehicle when. If you were caught this time, how many other time have you gone dangerously speeding down the road and did not get caught. As for your presence with the police officer conducting the traffic stop, just your tone tell me you are again in the wrong, I believe you would not have been asked to lay on the ground if you had in fact co-operated from the beginning. you have no empathy from me. Kona Resident 16 yrs.

  10. Big Guy says:

    I have lived here for over thirty five years. When I came the police used to dump your beer if they caught underaged drinkers (the law was 18 back then) in possession and would tell your "auntie" or parents . My car broke/caught fire in Naalehu once and the officer responding gave me a ride all the way to the top of HOVE where I lived at the time. He graciously stopped at Luzon's store and let me buy provisions as my car would not be fixed for days and he took me,my wife,my car battery,and a big bottle of Carlo Rossi wine all the way home. He did ask that I not open the wine till I got home.
    That is the kind of police we had back in the seventies. I have recently witnessed the change in the attitude of the younger generation of cops. Kelly Greenwell must have gotten one of the new " I am the law" kids that just graduated. What do you expect with MMA fighting,two wars,female tatoo'ing,and a mindset that promotes violence. When two cars used to meet on the road we would stop and talk as everyone knew everyone else. Now the police are corrupt (missing money again ?)and self centered. Police work is now a job and not the helping hand they used to be. To serve and protect ?

  11. dulcenak says:

    I have no sympathy for Mr. Greenwell. It appears that he has forgotten about his prior run-ins with the law. His juvenile behavior and nasty attitude is what got him where he is. It's his own fault! If you know Kona history, you may know that Mr. Greenwell is a descendant of a family of wealthy ranchers. It's obvious from his behavior and comments that he is one of those rich folks who thinks they can get away with anything. It's too bad that instead of taking responsibility for breaking the law, he has decided to make a stink to deflect attention away from himself. It sounds like Officer Segobia was following procedure and Mr. Greenwell was expecting special treatment. What a whiner! At his age I would have thought he had grown up already.

  12. jessica says:

    i feel so bad for u, i have also experienced the same treatment from hpd. They misuse their authority! They will get their karma. They forget who pays their wages. This is a sad situation. I will never call an officer for help, i hate to say it i feel safer with the criminals.


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