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August 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 40, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Regulator-Removing Diver Charged with Terroristic Threatening

from the August, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In our June issue, we wrote about how Jay Lovell, a fish collector in West Hawaii, attacked diver Rene Umberger in May when she and other divers approached him underwater and filmed him as he collected fish to sell for aquariums. Hawaii County Prosecutor's Office said then that an assault charge would be unlikely because Umberger was not injured, even though Lovell pulled her regulator out of her mouth while she was 50 feet below the surface. Apparently, the Prosecutors' Office changed its opinion, as it recently charged Lovell with a second-degree charge of "terroristic threatening," which is a misdemeanor.

"It's an appropriate charge," Umberger told West Hawaii Today. She said people have approached her since the incident to talk about their concerns about the fish collecting practice. "People have expressed gratitude for documenting this," Umberger said.

But Lovell's brother, Jim Lovell, who also collects reef fish says Umberger should have been charged as well. He told West Hawaii Today that Umberger made statements last year at a meeting in Kona that she was planning to "sic" Sea Shepherd on local fish collectors (Umberger was on a Sea Shepherd boat when the incident happened) and he blames her for the whole mess. "The fishermen did not go looking for the Sea Shepherd boat, they were just doing their job. It is very clear that Rene Umberger and her associates were responsible for this incident. Simply put, if they had stayed home and left the fishermen alone, nothing would of happened."

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