Strange incident of the day #1: Census worker bullied in Hawaii; Feds step in on side of worker
From Hawaii (full story HERE):
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
A federal census worker on the Big Island was arrested for trespassing after he unsuccessfully tried to get a Puna resident to accept census forms in March.
Now the federal government has filed court papers to take the case out of the hands of Hawai’i County authorities, saying the census worker was performing his federal duties and is immune from state prosecution.
According to documents filed in federal court yesterday, the incident took place March 10 after census worker Russell J. Haas arrived at a fenced residential lot in an unspecified Puna subdivision.
Haas said in a written report that the area is “inhabited by diverse variety of people, most (of whom) live there because of the privacy allowed by the jungle environment and crummy roads.”
Haas said there were no signs on the fence, so he rolled open the driveway gate and entered the property. He said he closed the gate behind him to keep “loose but not threatening dogs inside the fence.”
Haas said he walked about 10 to 15 feet onto the lot when a man came out of the garage and said, “Please leave the property.”
Haas said he identified himself and was wearing his identity badge around his neck, and told the man he wanted to give him his census questionnaire.
When the man again asked Haas to leave, Haas asked him to come to the gate and accept the paperwork, saying he would leave the material on the gate.
The resident said, “I’ll call the cops,” and Haas said, “Fine, I’ll wait by the gate,” Haas wrote in a report on the incident.
While Haas was outside the gate and speaking to the man about the importance and value of completing the census forms, the man reached into his pants pocket and a badge fell out “onto the driveway,” Haas wrote.