New York Tourist Arrested In Hawaii After Residents Report Instagram Photos To Police
We’ve written plenty about the strict policies Hawaii has enacted as part of their quarantine rules. The island has even gone so far as essentially putting tourists under “house arrest” in hotels. There is no doubt some rules are highly questionable, if not downright illegal. Hawaii recently announced they were extending mandatory quarantine for arrivals through June 30, 2020.
Apparently Hawaii residents are taking enforcement very seriously, reminding me of the “See something, say something” mentality. A 23-year-old New York man was recently arrested after local residents reported the man to the police for violating quarantine, after he posted pictures on Instagram.
Tarique Peters was arrested Friday for violating the state’s quarantine order. In a statement, Governor David Ige said, “Authorities became aware of his social media posts from citizens who saw posts of him – on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing, and walking around Waikiki at night.” The Governor praised citizens for reporting the photos to authorities.
Peters describes himself as a public figure and a frequent flyer on his Instagram profile. His profile includes numerous photos from different places in Hawaii posted since he arrives last Monday. In one picture, Peters is holding a surfboard on the beach. In another post, Peters writes, “I heard it’s cold in nyc” and appears to be at his hotel. His photos now include many comments from people criticizing him for traveling and violating the quarantine order.
Peters was booked and bail was set at $4,000. If found guilty, Peters faces a $5,000 fine or up to a year in prison.
It’s pretty ridiculous to flout rules in the way Peters did and expect to get away with it. A quick Google search on Hawaii shows how seriously the authorities in Hawaii take quarantine. I don’t like the way the Hawaiian government is essentially treating anybody who enters the state as a criminal. I think it’s dangerous and, in some ways, unconstitutional. But I also don’t think it’s smart to purposefully flaunt traveling around the island during a pandemic, knowing you’re violating the law.
In addition, the harassment from some people on his profile is over the top. I think the guy messed up, but people taking to Instagram to tear him down is not the answer. We all make mistakes. It’s not clear if Peters thinks he made a mistake, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt until he gives us a reason to think otherwise. And even if he doesn’t think he made a mistake, when is cyber bullying the answer?
Hawaii takes quarantine seriously. There is no doubt some of what they are doing is questionable (and illegal). But there are ways to challenge laws and regulations we don’t like instead of just flagrantly violating them. If you’re going to Hawaii, know that they are treating all visitors the same way, no exceptions.