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Medical records show police shot 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap in back of the head

Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:34 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HPD has maintained that the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap in April was justified.

But newly released medical records show that Sykap was killed by a shot to the back of the head by an officer. The records also show that he was shot twice in the back of his right shoulder and once in the back of his left shoulder.

Attorney Eric Seitz, who represents the boy’s family, said the medical records reinforce “our concerns that this was not a justifiable use of force at all. This was an execution.”

The report is not the official autopsy, which the city has not released, and does not name the police officer who delivered the shots that killed Sykap.

Police body camera footage obtained by Hawaii News Now is also unclear. That video shows one of the officers shooting 10 rounds into the back of the car.

The police department has refused to officially release any bodycam footage from the shooting.

Then-HPD Chief Susan Ballard said a total of three officers fired their weapons after pursuing a stolen vehicle to McCully.

Seitz said the medical report and the video show that the shooting was not justified and that the officers should be prosecuted.

“Neither one of those officers had any reason to shoot into the car. It was a violation of policy and they obviously were not in an danger from those vantage points,” he said.

Experts said shooting a person in the back ― let alone the back of the head ― is difficult to justify unless the person poses an imminent danger to other officers or to the public.

“In this particular incident, the vehicle was not causing imminent threat to the shooting officer, it was behind the officer,” said Timothy Williams, a law enforcement expert and former Los Angeles police officer.

Added defense attorney Myles Breiner: “It’s suggestive of possible excessive force. If you’re shooting someone in the back, how are they a threat to you?”

The HPD had no immediate comment, citing a pending investigation.

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