Honolulu Police Commission grills HPD on refusal to release body cam footage

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The last two fatal shootings by Honolulu police were top of mind for Honolulu police commissioners at a hearing on Wednesday, April 21.

The hearing also got a little heated as commissioners wanted to know why the bodycam video from the Kalakaua shooting has not been released.

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Commissioners wanted more answers as to why the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has not released bodycam footage of the shooting on Monday, April 5, in which a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot by police.

“Regarding the video footage, did you consider redacting the faces of the juveniles and then releasing it?” asked commissioner Michael Broderick.

Chief Susan Ballard was not present and deputy chief Aaron Takasaki-Young explained that HPD decided not to release the footage because there are three other juveniles and charges could still be filed. Young also tried to justify the shooting.

“I don’t think officers go into work every day commissioner thinking that they’re gonna discharge their firearms. That’s probably the last thing we want to do. But let me just say that our conduct and our reactions are based on the conduct and behavior that we see and respond to,” said Takasaki-Young.

“I think when you made that remark to Commissioner Broderick that when police officers are coming to work it’s not their intention to shoot a gun at somebody, that’s highly offensive. I don’t think that commissioner Broderick was at all trying to imply something. And for you to insinuate that the commissioners think that, we don’t think that about our police officers. So to be going into that kind of statement, that’s not at all what we’re asking about and I think you owe commissioner Broderick an apology,” said Commissioner Doug Chin.

“My intention was not to offend you folks, my apologies if I did, that’s my bad,” said Takasaki-Young.

He added that investigators also found a replica of a gun at the scene, and the video might be released if HPD decides not to file charges.

Commissioners also wanted to know why HPD did not release all of the bodycam video from the fatal shooting in Nuuanu on Wednesday, April 14. Takasaki-Young says HPD wanted to show the portion when the use of force started up to the shooting.

“In other words the rest of it you didn’t feel was relevant?” said Broderick.
“For the reviews, correct, yes,” said Takasaki-Young.
“And who makes that decision within the department of how much video is released?” asked Broderick.
“That would be in conjunction with Chief Ballard,” said Takasaki-Young.

He says all the videos for both shootings will be sent to the prosecutors office for review.

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