A 44-year-old man found guilty of posting social media threats to behead then-Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the Waianae Small Boat Harbor master following a dispute over nonpayment of $30, 000 in mooring fees by the leader of a militant Hawaiian sovereignty group was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison Tuesday morning, On Feb. 8, a federal jury found Lindsey Kinney, aka “Cowboy, ” guilty of two counts of interstate threat to injure, over postings on his Instagram and Facebook accounts in January 2022. Kinney considers himself a member of the Occupied Forces Hawaii Army.
After his term of imprisonment ends, Kinney will be on supervised release for three years and must pay a $200 special assessment according to the sentence handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson. Watson sentenced Kinney to 37 months on each count to be served concurrently, and ordered him to undergo a mental health assessment and undergo drug and substance abuse treatment.
“Violence and threats have no place in our communities and we hope everyone around our state will look out for and care for each other, ” Erika Engle, press secretary to Gov. Josh Green, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a statement.
Following Kinney’s threats, Green’s security staff of sheriff’s deputies “increased its vigilance, familiarizing themselves with Kinney’s appearance ” and “scrutinizing those who approached ” Green.
Blangiardi declined comment on Kinney’s sentencing. After Kinney’s intimidating posts, plainclothes Honolulu police officers were in the mayor’s office with Blangiardi and his staff for five days.
“This prosecution and sentence by the Court send an important message that conduct engaged in on social media can have serious criminal consequences, ” said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors, in a statement to the Star-Advertiser. “Posting threats to kill specific targets on social media like Instagram criminally terrorizes members of our community and will not be tolerated by federal law enforcement.”
In a sentencing memorandum filed May 16, Kinney’s attorney, Cassandra L. Stamm, argued that accused crime lord Michael J. Miske Jr. and associate John Stancil shot at Kinney on May 23, 2017, in an unsuccessful attempt on his life that sent him into a paranoid spiral of erratic behavior and depression leading up to his online threats.
Kinney suffered flashbacks of being chased and shot at by Miske and Stancil and became “defensive, ” felt vulnerable and that nothing was being done to protect him and his family, Stamm said. More than two years passed between the incident and the government’s indictment of Miske and his alleged co-conspirators.
“When he began to learn more about all of Miske’s local government and business friends, he drew a connection between corruption and his own vulnerability, ” Stamm said.
Kinney’s “online history and characteristics have led to the instant convictions.” But his “demonstrated offline, real-life history and characteristics show that he is a good person who experienced a traumatic incident and now needs some help getting back on the right track.”
“A sentence of five years probation with one year home confinement will best provide Mr. Kinney with the mental health treatment he needs while keeping him under very close supervision, first in home confinement then for four additional years of probation, ” wrote Stamm. “A probationary term will be significantly longer than the three-year authorized term of supervised release. Such a sentence will be best for both Mr. Kinney and for the community. The public will be best protected by such close and lengthy supervision.”
Sine his arrest April 13, 2022, Kinney has been held at the Federal Detention Center, Honolulu. He is confined in the special housing unit “because Miske and his associates were already housed at the FDC when Mr. Kinney arrived and the authorities believed Mr. Kinney needed protection.”
As a special housing unit inmate, Kinney is allowed a single 15-minute phone call every 30 days and one 60-minute social visit each week via videoconference, according to Stamm’s memo.
Kinney, who does not believe he is subject to U.S. law, also made online threats in March 2022 to behead Green and his security detail, and Blangiardi. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nolan prosecuted the case that was investigated by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Stamm did not immediately reply to a Star-Advertiser request for comment.
Occupied Forces Hawaii Army is a “group of persons who identify themselves by military titles and ranks who describe their efforts as operations, don military uniforms, carry illegitimate military documents, and maintain their membership in a military organization, ” according to social media posts and federal court documents.
The group’s website displays its motto, “Don’t delay, Repatriate today, To the Country of Hawaii.”
The threats a jury found Kinney guilty of posting are connected to the incident in Waianae as well as a March 28 online threat to behead Green, sheriff’s deputies and Blangiardi.
On Jan. 5, 2022, the Waianae harbor master tried to serve a man identified in court records as Kinney’s associate with a citation for owing the state about $30, 000 in unpaid fees. The fees accrued due to his unauthorized mooring of a sailboat he lived on in the harbor, and from the state’s disposal of a sailboat previously owned by Kinney’s friend, according to federal court records.
The associate, who was the sailboat owner, was identified as a “colonel ” of the Occupied Forces Hawaii who lives in Hilo.
When the harbor master and state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials approached the sailboat, the owner “began yelling that the officials (could not ) provide him the written notice while his vessel (was ) under way.”
During the confrontation the hostile owner called the officials a derogatory name, according to court documents.
The sailboat owner tried to report an “armed encounter ” to the U.S. Coast Guard and later posted to his followers on social media asking them to identify the officials, including their home addresses, according to saved social media posts shared with the FBI by the harbor master’s wife.
On Jan. 17, 2022, at about noon, Kinney posted on his Instagram accounts that he would cut off the heads of the harbor master, Joseph Simpliciano, his wife and their friend and take them to the “gates, ” according to court records.
Three days later, the harbor master told the FBI that Kinney posted a video declaring that DLNR was part of a human trafficking ring and that Kinney would overthrow state government “and then be king.”
Kinney’s threatening online posts included a 15-minute Instagram video in which Kinney and a second unseen person made threats targeting Green and Blangiardi. He also posted threats toward Simpliciano and DLNR officials.
Kinney also posted his menacing on the victims’ social media pages.
“All of you will reap what you sow … I’m sending each and everyone of u to the gates for … TREASON … your heads are mines … u going to the gates headless … as our father is waiting for u all patiently … one way trip … Aloha, ” Kinney wrote, according to a sworn affidavit by an FBI agent assigned to the case.
The harbor master and his wife told FBI agents that they felt threatened by Kinney’s posts. After the threats the family “locked their outdoor gates, kept loaded firearms ready and staged at the front door, and rehearsed security procedures with their children due to the threats, ” according to a federal criminal complaint.
During an April 19, 2022, detention hearing, Kinney, through an attorney, asserted that he is not subject to U.S. laws due to the illegal occupation and overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.
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