Police in Honolulu faced criticism for their unsuccessful attempt to draw sexual assault charges against 16 local massage parlor workers during a sting operation earlier this month, the Associated Press reported.
Attorney Myles Breiner, who is representing some of the women, said at least one officer took a worker’s hand and placed it on his groin after disrobing, then accused her of sexual assault.
“Sex assault in the fourth degree is a nonconsensual touching of a sexual nature,” Breiner said. “How can you say it’s not consensual when the officers are going into these establishments intending to be touched?”
City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro announced on Wednesday that the assault charges against the women would be dropped due to lack of evidence. If convicted on those charges, the women would have been required to register as sex offenders and spent up to a year in jail.
Authorities said in a statement that they set the operation up in response to community complaints, and that “more information will come out in court.” The women are scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.
Breiner told KITV-TV that authorities were instead “re-victimizing the victims.”
“The notion that they’re going after the pimps is completely ludicrous,” he said. “It’s just more lies compounded by the notion that they’re somehow helping the public by enforcing these prostitution laws by further criminalizing women and victimizing them as sex assault victims.”
Police spokesperson Michelle Yu said in a separate statement that the department had met with experts on human trafficking and social workers regarding the dismissed cases.
“Thus far the discussion has not yielded or produced a viable police strategy that does not involve the enforcement of prostitution laws,” Yu stated.
The operation came less than a year after authorities lobbied for the right to retain the ability to have sex with escorts while on duty as part of a state statute. Lawmakers subsequently revoked the exemption.
Watch KITV’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.
MSNBC’s Alex Witt holds back tears as wife of critically ill COVID-19 patient describes his swift decline
On MSNBC Saturday, Alex Witt interviewed Amy Breslow, a New Jersey woman whose husband Brett is critically ill in ICU with coronavirus and in need of plasma. As Witt listened, she grew visibly shaken.
"At what point did you know your husband needed to go to the hospital?" asked Witt. "Was it something that you saw slowly and then took a harsh turn? Tell me what happened there."
"He told me two weeks ago that he was not feeling well," said Breslow. "He started with a fever on the 16th, chills, fatigue. The 17th, I took him to urgent care. They tested him for regular flu, which was negative. They did not have any coronavirus tests available at the urgent care. There were no kits, so they examined him, his lungs, his vital signs, everything was stable. They gave him your typical, rest, fluids, take Tylenol, Motrin. Wednesday, his fever seemed to break, Thursday the fever came back."
Trump attacks governors requesting medical resources as ‘little problem children’ in unhinged rant
On Saturday, ahead of seeing off the naval hospital ship USNS Comfort on its way to New York to deal with the coronavirus hot zone, President Donald Trump once again lashed out at governors requesting medical resources, calling them "a couple of little problem children."
"I would say we'll use [the Defense Production Act] again once or twice," Trump told a reporter on the White House lawn. "We have a couple of little problem children, and we'll use it where we have to. But overall, I tell you, the private, free enterprise system is at work like nobody's seen in a long time."
Presumably, Trump is referring to Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), with whom he is feuding publicly and has attacked by name multiple times in recent days.
WATCH: Trump suggests he may impose quarantine on New York and surrounding states
On Saturday, on the White House lawn, President Donald Trump announced he is considering a quarantine of New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which is currently exploding in the New York City metro area.
"Should anyone who lives in a state that has a governor that you're not getting along with well be concerned at all?" asked NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell.
"No, I think most of the governors are very appreciative," said Trump. "As I said, I just spoke with [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo, I just spoke with [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis. We're thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it's the hot spot. New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I'm thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there's the possibility that sometime in April we'll quarantine."