A longstanding conflict between G4S security guards and employees of a Hawaiian commuter airline came to a physical clash that was caught on video.
The video shows a security guard named “Erik” trying to pull the camera out of the hands of an airline employee while repeating, “you don’t take picture of me.”
The guard pushes him, shoves him, spits on him and ultimately threatens to kill him.
“I’m going to kill this fucker. I don’t care. You don’t take picture of me, brah.”
The owner of the commuter airline sent the video to Los Angeles photo activist Shawn Nee, who forwarded it to me.
I’ve reached out to the owner for further comment and will update accordingly.
This is what he told Nee in the email:
I have attached a video that illustrates just how barbaric GS4 personnel can be. This video was shot at the Kahului Airport in Maui, where I own and operate a small inter-island commuter airline. Several years ago, GS4 security personnel began harassing my employees at the airport. It started small, but rapidly escalated to the point that I took the extraordinary step of arming my employees with video tape recorders, and instructed them to videotape ALL interactions with GS4 personnel.
I think the attached video is pretty self-explanatory… and appalling. Note the part where the GS4 “officer” spits on my employee, then threatens to kill him with his partner’s handgun, all the while telling my employee, in a menacing tone, “I know where you live.” Note also the partner’s failed attempts to restrain his seemingly deranged fellow security guard. This is not the calibre of company anyone should want for their security. If something as disturbing and brazen as the content of this video could happen at a “secure” federal airport in broad daylight, whyshould anyone believe this company would operate any more responsibly elsewhere?
This is what he wrote in a followup email to Nee. G4S is listed as the largest security company in the world and they apparently own Wackenhut. Still trying to piece this together.
It took over five years for FBI to investigate and a Federal Grand Jury to indict the Chief of Wackenhut Security at the Maui Airport on charges of violating our civil rights. He was forced to resign when these behaviors became apparent through this and other videotape we provided. Unfortunately, the Local Wackenhut Chief was acquitted by a local jury. The perpetrators and jury were all native Hawaiian, while all the victims were “Haoule” or White. There were a lot of racial overtones to our contacts with Wackenhut, which was part of my reason for telling my employees to videotape everything.
Unbelievably, the federal judge allowed the jury to eat Halloween candy nonstop from a giant orange plastic jack-o-lantern jurors passed among themselves in the jury box throughout the trial. You could actually hear the sound of candy wrappers being torn open during my testimony. The Jury did not debate that the events took place, they just didn’t feel our Civil Rights were violated “under color of law.” This kind of thing happens all the time with the police in Hawaii, you just never hear about it. BTW, the Wackenhut Chief at Maui Airport was also the former Chief of the Maui PD, as were most of his “security officers.”
It came out at trial that the same individual previously assaulted a Wackenhut subordinate during a shift change meeting at the Wackenhut offices. When the victim reported the behavior to the company, his union representative was told Wackenhut needed to “Support” the Chief, because his personal relationships with various state procurement official was “strategic” to Wackenhut. The company then allowed this man with a history of violence in the workplace not only to remain employed by Wackenhut, but to continue those kinds of abuses with my employees. At trial a former Wackenhut employee testified that she was ordered by the Chief to alter and falsify her report of events after she reported a true and complete account of what she observed Wackenhut security guards doing to my employees. The best we can hope to come from this is that communities considering using this company understand exactly what they are dealing with.
UPDATE: I spoke to Greg Kahlstorf, Chief Executive Officer for Pacific Air Holdings, who was the owner of the commuter company in this video.
He told the incident happened in 2005, so it’s not exactly a recent incident.
And this incident was just a small part of an ongoing string of incidents, including one where the chief of airport security for Wackenhut handcuffed him and stomped on his face because he was making a complaint.
The chief was acquitted for that in 2010. And the guard in this video, Eric Brown, was never convicted for this incident although he was arrested.
Kahlstorf said he is going public with this video today because he just read a story where Hot Springs, California is considering contracting its jail services to Wackenhut, which is part of G4S.
His concern is that Wackenhut never took responsibility for this incident or for the other incidents that did not end up on video.
“I want to be sure that communities and companies and government entities that might be contemplating contracting with this company know who they’re dealing with,” he said.
I’ve had my own issues with Wackenhut when they were contracted to guard the Miami-Dade Metrorail.