Honolulu officers charged in shooting death of teenager ask judge to dismiss the case

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The three Honolulu police officers charged in connection to the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy asked a judge to dismiss the case against them on Wednesday, July 7.

This comes as the City gives the approval to pay for their attorneys.

Prosecutors charged the three officers days after a grand jury declined to do so, a move the defense attorneys referred to in their motion as, “an unusual procedural process that seems inherently suspect.”

Former Judge Randal Lee agreed that it is highly unusual. He had never seen it in his 25 years as a prosecutor.

“Does it mean that it’s illegal? No, it just means that the prosecutor had the discretion to do what they did,” said Lee.

Officer Geoffrey Thom has been charged with murder while officers Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces face attempted murder charges for the death of Iremamber Sykap.

Defense attorneys said serious charges like the officers face fall outside the district court’s jurisdiction. Their motion says, “The only way the State may prosecute attempted second-degree murder is under the authority of a grand jury indictment.”

Lee disagreed.

“If you go to district court there’s a number of preliminary hearings with regards to murders,” he said.

With regard to the motion, Ah Nee’s attorney, Thomas Otake, sent a statement saying, Honolulu Prosecutor Steve “Alm correctly states, ‘no one is above the law.’ That includes prosecutors, and this motion makes clear the law does not allow prosecutors to proceed this way.”

Lee adds that the motion also rallies more public support for the officers.

“I’ve seen that already there’s been a number of protests about the charging of these officers,” said Lee.

This comes as the Honolulu Police Commission approved the request by the three officers for the City to pay their legal fees.

“The law is clear, if the alleged conduct related to the officer arose out of, and related to his duties as a police officer, then we must provide paid legal counsel,” said Michael Broderick, Honolulu Police Commissioner.

The commission also agreed to pay for the legal fees of three other officers involved in another fatal police shooting in 2019. The family of Kyle Thomas filed a civil lawsuit against the City.

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