HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The legal community is questioning the Honolulu Police Department’s reasons for withholding officer body camera videos of the fatal police shooting of 16-year old Iremamber Sykap earlier this month.
Deputy Chief Aaron Takasaki-Young told the commission that the department cannot release footage of the April 5 shooting in McCully because of a state statute that requires juvenile records to remain confidential.
Takasaki-Young said other teens in the car could still be prosecuted for crimes and therefore the videos cannot be released.
But legal experts say there are ways to make the video public.
“Do you consider, redacting faces of the juveniles and then releasing it?” asked Honolulu Police Commissioner Michael Broderick, a retired state court judge.
Another commissioner, former State Attorney General Doug Chin, also questioned HPD’s inconsistency with releasing body cam videos. “That’s the part that doesn’t make sense to the public,” he said.
Last week, HPD released videos from the fatal police shooting of 29-year old Lindani Myeni.
He was shot after injuring several officers outside a Nuuanu home. One officer had to have surgery.
“They released the Nuuanu shooting so they should release the Kalakaua shooting,” said attorney Megan Kau. “If you’re going to do it once, you have to do it all the time.”
Another defense attorney, Jacquie Esser, agreed.
“They’re choosing what to release when it works in their favor,” she said.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard has said Sykap was driving and rammed police cars after a crime spree, which included an armed robbery.
Takasaki-Young told commissioners that a replica gun was found in the car.
He said the department could make the footage public later, after the criminal investigation involving the other teens is complete. That didn’t sit well with the defense attorneys.
Esser said Sykap’s family wants the videos released as soon as possible.
“Blur out the faces or redact what is confidential to the other juveniles if that truly is in fact why they’re choosing not to release it,” Esser said.
Kau said consistency is key when it comes to public trust.