Hawaii Lawmaker Calls For Action After Homeless Keep Defecating On War Memorials

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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A Hawaii lawmaker and retired Marine is calling for action after noticing the Korean and Vietnam War memorials in Honolulu are used as toilets by the homeless.

“The homeless are nesting there and defecating there because it provides a degree of concealment,” GOP state Rep. Bob McDermott told Hawaii News Now.

The war memorials serve as a reminder of the sacrifices of U.S. troops abroad in East Asia, but for others, the area around the black granite wall with the names of heroes etched in serves a much different function.

The war memorials have turned into an “open latrine for homeless people,” according to McDermott, and now he’s writing the governor of Hawaii to get this problem solved post-haste.

McDermott took the time earlier this week to personally visit the war memorials and take some pictures. He found defecation, needles and trash. To make matters worse, he came back to the site a few days later to see if government workers had fixed the problem.

Instead, the trash had only gotten worse.

“This is our capitol,” McDermott said. “It’s our showpiece. If it was done in the elevator you can be sure it would be cleaned up.  It’s 200 feet away. Why do we miss it.”

News outlet KHON2 contacted the governor’s office for a comment. Homeless coordinator Scott Morishige said that the memorials are patrolled regularly by authorities. But he also added that law enforcement cannot discriminate against people occupying public spaces.

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety (DPS) also said the memorials are visited routinely by state deputy sheriffs.

“If deputies find anyone sleeping in a public area, they will offer assistance,” DPS said in a statement to Hawaii Now News. “Most people they have encountered move on voluntarily. Anyone caught in the act of breaking the law will be cited and/or possibly arrested.”

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