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New York Tourist Arrested In Hawaii After Residents Report Instagram Photos To Police

New York Tourist Arrested In Hawaii
Photo by Luke McKeown on Unsplash

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.

My Thoughts

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?

Bottom Line

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.

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  1. I don’t know about the constitutionality, but the quarantine is to protect Hawaii residents. And he’s not there only one – many more are doing the same thing, just not as publicly.

  2. I live in Hawaii, but Hawaii is a state. If I lived in Georgia and drove to Florida there’s no way they could arrest me. I don’t see how this is legal. Just the government who think they can do anything they wish. Here’s to hoping he has a good lawyer so he can force them to overthrow this stupid “rule”.

  3. So you’re OK if some tourist unknowingly infects you or someone in your family? Hawaii has (currently) the 2nd lowest infection rate in the nation, and the quarantine is helping us keep it low. Or maybe you’d rather live in someplace like New York where 1/3 of their population got infected?

    1. I have been taking my state’s stay-at-home order seriously and understand the public health concerns. As the article states, I do not support what he did and fully acknowledge he was in violation of the law. However, I believe some of the enforcement mechanisms are unconstitutional, and I think for those who don’t like them, they should challenge them in court rather than openly flout the law.

  4. I’m not clear on the “mistake” part. Are you suggesting he didn’t know better? Or that he erred in posting it?

    “Many more are doing it” seems pretty irrelevant. You can’t catch them all, but the odds are improved when somebody flaunts it and posts proof for you. Feeling you’re special, and not being the sharpest knife in the drawer is a bad one-two punch.

    1. Something being a mistake does not insinuate the person is without fault. People can make mistakes knowing at the time they are doing the wrong thing. A mistake is a misguided action. Mistake is merely a wrong judgement or action. That’s all I meant by that. But as you can tell, I do not condone what he did, despite my extreme dislike of some of the draconian measures Hawaii is taking.

  5. Jonathan, in this case I think you’re being euphemistic in calling Tarique’s deliberate actions a mistake. I’m sure the attorney representing the suspects in Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting (in GA) will refer to the episode as a mistake.

    1. Doing something deliberately does not preclude it from being a mistake. But to respond to your example, they are completely incomparable.

  6. They are not treating all visitors like criminals. They are treating them like potential carriers of illness, which is why they are required to adhere to quarantine.

    They start treating them like criminals only when they break state regulations by not adhering to quarantine. At which stage they are, well, criminals.

    You can object to the validity of these rules, of course, but your statement is a hyperbole.

    1. It is not hyperbole to say visitors are being treated like criminals when they are put under forced house arrest in hotels whereby they are forced to be locked in with the distribution of only one key card. It is not hyperbole when the state considers putting ankle monitors on visitors to track their movements. Sorry, we can argue about whether those things are necessary and/or legal, but let’s not pretend there is not a valid argument that they are draconian and possibly go above and beyond what the constitution allows.

  7. If these people don’t want to face consequences like this, they don’t have to visit. No one forced them to visit, for God’s sake. But kudos to this fame whore for getting his fifteen minutes.

  8. So let me get this right. If I where to fly to HI (any island) for a two week vacation, I would have to spend it in my hotel room. The get on a return flight the same day my quarinteen is up. So in essence they don’t want tourists?

    1. Yes, the policy requires you spend 14 days in quarantine or the length of your stay if your stay is less than 14 days. Hawaii has blatantly told people not to come to Hawaii.

  9. Emergency powers are too broad and need to be limited. They were not intended to be ways of circumventing the legislative process with no end date. If quarantine is so important, the legislature should convene and pass laws to impose the exact behaviors and conditions that are outlawed. Emergency powers need a time limit or the decision to impose a state of emergency must be separated from the executive. It is a license to impose martial law if you let the same person who receives extraordinary powers be the one to declare the state of emergency that bestows those powers.

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