Arrest footage from 1985 misrepresented as tied to Maui fire, Joe Biden

The claim: Post implies Hawaiian arrest footage recent, associated with Maui wildfires

A Sept. 5 Instagram video (direct link, archive link) shows police officers forcibly arresting people and placing them in a van while onlookers, including children, cry and yell.

“We Hawaiians,” says a person who appears to be handcuffed in a police vehicle. “This our land. This our way of life.”

Text superimposed over the video reads: “They are being arrested for Camping on the beach With no where (sic) to go! ARE YOU HAPPY BIDEN VOTERS! WE NEED TO HELP THESE PEOPLE!”

Some commenters took the post to mean the footage showed recent events under President Joe Biden’s administration.

“HAWAII VOTED FOR SNIFFY JOE, wrote one commenter.

“God please help these people. Help them now father,” wrote another.

The post was like more than 2,000 times within two weeks.

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Our rating: Missing context

The implied claim is false. The footage is from an old documentary. It is not associated with the Biden administration or the recent wildfires in Maui.

Arrest video not associated with Maui wildfires

In August, a catastrophic wildfire broke out in Maui, Hawaii, killing more than 100 people and destroying thousands of structures. However, the Instagram footage is not associated with that disaster.

The footage is from a 1985 documentary, “Waimānalo Eviction,” made by Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, a Hawaiian film production company. It documents an eviction of houseless native Hawaiians from Waimānalo Beach Park, according to the company’s website.

The documentary is also listed in a University of Hawaii Library at Mānoa research guide entitled “Hawaiʻi – EA Hawaiian Activism Movements 1960-2010: ʻĀina.” A trailer for the documentary was uploaded to YouTube in 2012.

Ronald Regan was president in 1985, when the footage was captured, not Biden. Waimānalo and Waimānalo Bay Beach Park are located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, not Maui.

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The Instagram user who shared the post could not be reached for comment.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Hawaiian Voice (YouTube), April 9, 2012, Waimanalo Eviction – TRAILER

  • USA TODAY, Sept. 3, ‘Don’t forget about us’: Maui victims struggle one month after deadly fires

  • USA TODAY, Aug. 9, How did the Maui fires start? What we know about humans making disasters worse

  • Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, accessed Sept. 15, Who We Are

  • Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina, accessed Sept. 15, Waimānalo Eviction

  • University of Hawaii Library at Mānoa, accessed Sept. 15, Hawaiʻi – EA Hawaiian Activism Movements 1960-2010: ʻĀina

  • The White House, accessed Sept. 15, Ronald Reagan

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Arrest footage from 1985, not wake of Maui wildfires | Fact check

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