HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two fatal police-involved shootings in just two weeks.
Residents are calling for change and the attorney for one of the men killed by police said the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) needs to be more transparent and release the rest of the footage.
Protesters gathered in Waikiki and pled for justice one day after HPD released bodycam footage of what they said was a justified shooting of Lindani Myeni.
Video of the shooting is disturbing.
Myeni family’s defense attorney Jim Bickerton said there are so many questions about how things went down.
“We just see issues and problems and we’re not getting clear answers,” Bickerton said. “One thing I want to stress is when an unarmed man is shot, the burden is on HPD, they got to meet that burden, and they’re falling far short.”
Bickerton is asking to see the 911 tapes and all additional footage of the incident.
“There’s a lot we don’t have. They’ve only given us the footage where they chose to start at the fight. We don’t know what preceded that alleged fight,” Bickerton explained. “HPD’s focus on what happened later is focusing on the wrong aspect of this.”
What is clear, and HPD has acknowledged, is the officers did not announce themselves until after they shot Myeni.
Bickerton said that in the first frame of the video Myeni looks calm, but that changes when the officer points a gun at him, shines a flashlight in his face and tells him to get down.
“Fight or flight is inevitable in that situation,” he said. “All of us are required to obey the lawful order of a police officer. But we’re not required to obey just the random order of people shouting at us to get on the ground when they’re waving a gun.”
Bickerton claims their behavior shows discrimination.
“I’m not sure that they would have done this to anyone that did not look like Lindani. And that’s a problem.” he explained.
Dozens lined Kalakaua Avenue Saturday morning in response to what happened, protesting police brutality and seeking justice.
Bello Silitsheno and several other friends of Myeni were there.
“We’re just tired you know and somethings got to change,” Silitsheno said.
Myeni was killed Wednesday after police responded to a burglary in progress call of a man inside a home.
HPD said Myeni had apparently entered the home and left without incident. Myeni was outside the residence when police arrived.
Police shot and killed a 16-year-old Iremember Sykap during a car chase on Monday, April 5. Sykap was driving a stolen car that was linked to a burglary, purse snatching, car theft and an armed robbery,
Protest organizer Lesley Harvey said they are seeing more acts of violence against black and brown communities in Hawaii and she wanted the public to open their eyes to what is going on.
“There’s a lot of push back in terms of people deserving what’s happening because of perceived criminality,” Harvey explained.
Even those suspected of a crime are allowed due process by law.
Harvey said, police should have deescalated the situation, but they did not.
“They came there with the perception that: this was an enemy,” Harvey explained. “I understand that he was potentially trespassing and that must have been very frightening for the homeowner, and I don’t minimize that at all, but I just focus on the police response.”
Police said Friday that the footage shows Myeni attacking the officers and that they had no choice but to take action.
Bickerton said, they are hiring a forensic expert to view the video.