HONOLULU (KHON2) — The preliminary hearing for three Honolulu police officers charged in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap resumed on Wednesday. Prosecutors showed bodycam footage of officers firing at the stolen white Honda as it came to a stop before driving off into a canal.
This is considered as the most critical evidence for the case, and the videos show the shooting from different angles, as well as the pursuit prior to the shooting.
Prosecutors showed bodycam footage from Officers Geoffrey Thom and Zackary Ah Nee. They said the third officer charged in the case, Christopher Fredeluces, did not have his bodycam on. Prosecutors also released footage from Officer Chanel Price who was at the scene when shots were fired.
According to prosecutors, the car had already stopped and did not present any danger to the officers when they fired. However, defense attorneys showed bodycam footage from Officer Thom before the shooting, when he and other officers were in pursuit of the stolen Honda.
Prosecutors said at one point, the suspects were driving 80 miles an hour on the freeway and refused to pull over after several warnings from the officers.
On Tuesday, defense attorneys said officers who responded believed that the suspects in the vehicle were dangerous and could have been armed. The Honda also crashed into a police car before the shooting.
The second day of testimony also revealed that there were two gun replicas at the scene, as well as two magazines — one of them had six bullets.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter pointed out that there were no real guns found, however, defense attorneys said at the time of the shooting, there was no way for police officers to know if the guns were real. A Honolulu police evidence specialist also said the replicas looked like real handguns.
Defense attorneys pointed out that by the time the officers responded to the scene, they were aware that Sykap and the other suspects were involved in an armed robbery.
According to police, Sykap was driving a stolen car that was linked to a crime spree before he drove it into the Kalakaua Stream on April 5. The others in the car ranged in age from 14 to 22.
In May, his family filed a lawsuit against the City and police alleging that officers had been harassing and threatening family members. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief.
“They’ve been calling grandma and the mom. They’ve been going by their house and making threats,” Sykap family attorney Eric Seitz said during a news briefing in May. “Among them, threats that if the other brothers don’t turn themselves in and cooperate with the authorities, that they’re going to end up dead as well.”
Seitz said he believes the officers who were engaged in the shooting are legitimately concerned they may face criminal charges.
One officer is charged with one count of second-degree murder after prosecutors said he fired 10 rounds at Sykap through the rear window of the car. According to prosecutors, eight of the 10 shots he fired hit the teen in the back of the head, neck, back and left arm. The bullet that hit Sykap in the back of his head fractured his skull and entered his brain.
The five-year police department veteran fired the shots “without provocation” after the car came to a stop at an intersection, according to court documents. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 20 years because of the kind of gun used in the shooting, which was a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic firearm.
The two other officers, who also opened fire, are charged with second-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors filed the charges after a grand jury declined to indict the three officers.
There will likely be a lot of cross examination of the bodycam videos from the three defense attorneys when the hearing resumes on Aug. 17.