A source has provided a copy of this letter to Hawai'i Free Press. We have asked Rep Quinlan for comment. Will update if Quinlan responds:
Speaker Saiki, October 15, 2017
On Monday, October 9, I was physically attacked by State Representative Sean Quinlan, in retaliation for charges I filed against his political mentor Michelle Matsuo.
I filed a complaint with the Oahu County Democrats, for which I am Vice Chair. Ms. Matsuo, who is the Democratic Party's District Chair for House District 23 in Manoa, allegedly misappropriated DNC-Democratic Party funds to pay for what was originally going to be an anti-Rail meeting at Manoa Elementary. I also requested an investigation into Ms. Matsuo's false claims of being a resident of Manoa, when everyone in Manoa knows she now lives downtown at Harbor Square (in District 26).
Under false pretenses, Ms. Matsuo used party funds to hold what was originally planned to be an anti-rail forum for Saturday, August 26, to kick off anti-Rail public support before the legislature's special session starting on Monday, August 28. Matsuo attempted to reward Kelii Akina (who is funded by the Koch brothers) and several other conservatives and Republicans who are anti-Rail, with resources and promotion, at the expense of the Democratic Party’s scarce money and volunteer time. Furthermore, I filed a complaint against Matsuo for falsely claiming to live in Manoa when she actually lives downtown in a condo at Harbor Square. These are serious charges which deserve to be investigated fairly, on their merits.
Last Monday night, Oct 9, Rep. Sean Quinlan (House District 47) harassed and violently accosted me. He badgered me with three pointed questions about next year’s elections in front of others at a fundraiser for Senator Shimabukuro and Representative Gates. I did my best to diffuse an uncomfortable and tense situation with non-emotional, deescalating and conflict resolving responses. Rep. Quinlan leaned in with a hand extended, offering a handshake. When I shook his hand, Rep. Quinlan squeezed so that I could not let go and leaned in close to my face (he is much bigger than me) Rep Quinlan threatened that “Dale [Kobayashi] is going to smash [me]… next year,” by which point he was squeezing my hand harder and using intimidating body language, towering over me, and invading my personal space. I realized that he was insulting, taunting, and challenging me in a manner likely to provoke an immediate violent response to his own threatening, aggressive and violent behavior, and that he was about to injure me.
Rep. Quinlan screamed, “don’t let go of my hand! Don’t let go of my fucking hand!” in my face. It took four men to pull Rep. Quinlan off of me and to restrain him. The four men who restrained Rep. Quinlan are Rep. Daniel Holt. Rep. Tom Brower, Ali Sek and Benjamin Gates. Rep. Quinlan’s attack was inexcusable, improper behavior for an elected official. Rep. Quinlan's violent behavior was in violation of §711-1101 and §711-1106 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.
Rep. Quinlan relied on Michele Matsuo’s political advice for his campaign for office last year, as did Dale Kobayashi. Matsuo is the connection between those two men, as they live in very different areas. Michele Matsuo openly brags that she got Rep. Quinlan and Tim Vandeveer, DPH Chair, elected, and that she nearly got Dale Kobayashi elected to State House last year in 2016. Matsuo also boasts that she controls Qunilan's votes in the legislature. Notice that he did vote against funding Rail in your special session. During the last session, most of the bills Matsuo lobbied, Quinlan voted in support.
Rep. Quinlan’s physical attack on me is retaliation against me for the complaints I filed against his mentor Michele Matsuo, 6 weeks ago. Rep. Quinlan tried to intimidate me with physical violence.
I will not be intimidated, or threatened with spoken or unspoken implications, or physical violence.
I will not be co-blamed as the victim of violence. I did not provoke. I did nothing to deserve being accosted or harassed. Rep. Quinlan is the 'hot head', not me. Rep. Quinlan needs Anger Management therapy.
I also object to how I am being treated by members of the legislature after Quinlan's attack. Your members are trying to cover-up and are protecting Quinlan's bad behavior. The day after the attack, was the annual Patsy Mink PAC fundraiser, Tuesday October 10. I had bought my ticket weeks ago and had looked forward to attending. I was advised by the Majority Leader Belatti to stay home and not attend Patsy Mink PAC. I was told that Mr. Quinlan was going to be there, and my presence would be unsettling to him. Frankly, that is ridiculous. Would the female victim of a violent attack by an elected official also be told that she needs to hide her face? I'm a male victim and I have rights, too. Why does the perpetrator of violence continue to be out in public, with no punishment, and his victim needs to stay out of sight? What about the rights of the victim to be safely out in public? If Rep. Quinlan felt any remorse, I would have heard an apology within the last 5 days. He needs to play by the same rules as everybody else, and face the same consequences.
Dylan P. Armstrong, Vice Chair
Oʻahu County Democrats, Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi