Journalist claims Maui police put him in 'headlock' for pressing mayor on missing kids

"I know at this point that the government has not been truthful about the death toll," he said during an interview.

Published: August 23, 2023 4:59pm

An independent journalist in Maui, Hawaii, who flew there to cover the devastating wildfires, claims that he was put in a "headlock" by Maui police for pressing the mayor on the unknown number of missing children and claims the government is hiding the severity of human loss.

"I know at this point that the government has not been truthful about the death toll," Nick Sortor, who traveled to Maui last week, told BlazeTV host Sara Gonzalez. "They’re not talking about the death toll of the children, either," even though "that is what the people here in Maui want to know," he said.

Other footage posted to X by Sortor this week shows him confronting Maui Mayor Richard Bissen repeatedly about the potentially high volume of children who have not been found since the fires began. A man who said he’s with the Maui Police Department then allegedly put Sortor in a "headlock" before saying Bissen is "done" taking questions.

Camera footage shows several seconds of chaos before panning back to the officer. This is when Sorter alleges the physical encounter occurred.

During the press conference, Mayor Bissen said, "I don’t know," when asked about the estimated number of missing kids. When accused of not being transparent, he threatened to end the press conference early.

According to The New York Times, upwards of 1,100 people are currently unaccounted for. Many are feared to be minors. The official death toll is currently 115, but that is speculated to be an underestimate of the actual number given the missing bodies and the portable morgues that have been put to use.

Just the News contacted Maui officials for comment.

Follow Addison on Twitter.

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