May 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The state of Hawaii has reached a financial settlement with two men who were attacked by police while protesting peacefully on behalf of church-state separation.

Mitch Kahle and Kevin Hughes received $100,000 because they were roughed up by security after they objected to an opening prayer at the Hawaii Senate in April 2010. The incident was caught on video.

Kahle was acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge, and Capitol police have been given training on how to properly deal with peaceful protestors.

“We’re pleased with the settlement, primarily because it sends a message to government that peaceful protest cannot be treated violently,” Kahle told the Honolulu Civil Beat.

The Senate has since ceased its invocation practice, but the Hawaii House of Representatives has not. In fact, the House is considering a measure known as the “Stop Mitch Kahle” bill that would permit security details at the Capitol more latitude in dealing with “disorderly behavior.”