Civil Beat Down

I have nothing against CivilBeat, I fork over my subscription fee,  and think they practice pretty good journalism (for a blog).  I’d like to help them focus…and perhaps refine their product a bit.  For instance their recent story entitled A Lewd, Offensive and Racist Hawaiian Tale contained a lot of valuable news. Unfortunately, it also contained a lot of fluff, leading misinformation and extraneous material as well as some glaring factual errors.  For instance, it misrepresented my role with a recent political campaign, and when sent a correction…chose to ignore it.  Sometimes my name (Rollman) has one “n,”  somtimes two…like a certain politician they seem to be hard on.  Freudian slip?

I would like to present a re-edited version of their original story (I didn’t change a single word).  I put the material into a logical sequence, dropped the extraneous flourishes and unsubstantiated conjecture, gave it a snappy new headline and voila…real news.  And lose the cartoon…it sucks (just kidding…it’s the best part).

Harrassment Prosecution Stalls At City Hall

Online aliases, crude impersonations, racist language and images — all of it amounting to criminal-level harassment .

Rollman’s complaint also alleged that a Sept. 15 [2008] email from mufihannemann@gmail.com was sent to city employees and others, and linked to firepanos.wordpress.com. Rollmann [sic] alleged that the emails suggested he wrote the email as well, although Rollman told police he had nothing to do with it.

The email — Van Marter refers to it as “the offending e-mail” — was traced by investigators to an Internet-provider address assigned to the law offices of John Carroll, where Ryan shared office space.

The Prosecutors Office and HPD also interviewed Carroll and determined that “the offending e-mail” came from Ryan’s own computer.

Van Marter writes that his office recovered an audio recording from firepanos.wordpress.com of Ryan impersonating Rollman, adding, “it includes offensive comments that a reasonable person would construe as harassment.”

At the conclusion of his letter to Chief Kealoha, Prosecutor Van Marter said there was “sufficient evidence to believe” that Ryan sent the email and posted the recording.

Rollman alleged that the website firepanos.wordpress.com contained racist and offensive remarks and images directed toward one of Hannemann’s primary opponents, Panos Prevedouros. Rollman claimed it was made to appear that Hannemann controlled the site.

Firepanos.wordpress.com and a website called anybodybutmufi.com were also believed, according to Van Marter’s letter, to be linked to Carroll and Ryan. Subpoenaed records later confirmed the connection.

Calling the circumstances “unique,” Van Marter said his office declined to prosecute, “even though evidence is sufficient to prove Ryan’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Reached by Civil Beat via email Friday, Ryan wrote:

All I’ll say is what I told (KITV Reporter Daryl) Huff: On January 26th, at Tom Berg’s swearing in, Doug Chin made a beeline for me and introduced himself in order to apologize on behalf of himself and former city prosecutor turned mayor Carlisle for the Rollman complaint and investigation. This apology has been memorialized in a City e-mail.

[Editor’s Note: With the exception of the headline, this story is excerpted from Honolulu CivilBeat 6/24/2011 verbatim]

WATCH FOR “HATCHETED BY HUFF,” NEXT ON ATOMIC MONKEY