Hawaii state representative smashes homeless people's carts with a sledgehammer

State Rep. Tom Brower says he's grown "disgusted" with Hawaii's homeless

Published November 19, 2013 4:18PM (EST)


Tom Brower, a five-term Democratic state representative for Hawaii, has taken to patrolling the streets of his district with a sledgehammer in-hand, looking for homeless people's shopping carts to either return to the grocery store or smash.

Brower's crusade is the byproduct, he says, of his disgust with Waikiki's homelessness problem. "I got tired of telling people I'm trying to pass laws. I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets," he told Hawaii News Now.

"I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them. I also create a situation where those carts can't be pushed around the city. I think it's a good thing," he continued.

Brower doesn't restrict his vigilante work to shopping carts, however. "If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don't do anything," Brower said to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "But if they are sleeping during the day, I'll walk up and say, 'Get your ass moving.'"

But not everyone is thrilled with Brower's chosen methods.

"His message to the public is that it's OK to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people. It's OK for vigilante justice," said Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii.

"To see someone banging on stuff like that, it was very scary for me," said Edward Ferreira, a homeless person in Honolulu.

Watch Brower in action below:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Hawaii Homelessness Honolulu Star-advertiser Marya Grambs Sledgehammer Thinkprogress Tom Brower Video Waikiki