HONOLULU (KHON2) — Bodycam footage from the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy in April will likely be shown in court on Tuesday, July 20. Legal experts say the videos will be the key evidence at a preliminary hearing for the three HPD officers charged in the case.
The judge will first have to rule on the defense motion to disqualify Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter. Legal experts say that on its own could take some time to hear legal arguments on both sides.
The defense says Van Marter made himself both a witness and prosecutor by reviewing the evidence and signing off on the complaint, which is normally done by a detective assigned to the case.
“The only issue in this case is who should have signed the complaint,” said Megan Kau, a defense attorney not involved in the case. “Should the deputy prosecuting attorney have signed and filed the complaint? Or should the detective have signed it?”
Once the judge clears the motions and the preliminary hearing begins, legal experts say prosecutors will present bodycam footage of the shooting of Iremamber Sykap.
“I would bring the autopsy reports, the direction of the bullets, the number of bullets, and I would probably show the video to show that there was no imminent danger at the time,” Randal Lee, a former circuit court judge.
Lee says the defense can focus on the crime spree that police say took place before the shooting. He points out that some of the video evidence could also wind up helping the defense.
“If the car was launching forward even briefly, the officer might have that perception that imminent danger exists,” said Lee.
Court records show that the defense also subpoenaed nine HPD officers so at least some of them could be called to testify. Hundreds of people are expected to be there to support the three officers. Among them, the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association.
“We have a relationship with our police officers and so we support them. We support SHOPO, we support our police officers, but at the same time we also respect the law and due process,” said Bobby Lee, president of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association.
The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday at District Court.