Protesters rally for police reforms after week of new developments in 2 police shootings
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of people rallied in front of Honolulu Hale on Friday, calling for the convictions of three Honolulu police officers charged in the fatal shooting of a teen suspect.
They also want to see further investigation of the police shooting of another man in Nuuanu.
The cases involving the shootings of Iremamber Sykap and Lindani Myeni — which occurred nine days apart in April. They are both under investigation, and the Myeni case is getting international attention.
The Rev. Al Sharpton has even weighed in on the case, saying HPD officers who shot Myeni did not follow the law.
Protesters also called for justice in that case and the Sykap shooting. The three officers are due in court next week.
“(Honolulu prosecutor) Steve Alm did the right thing and so now we’re demanding that Mayor Blangiardi, the city council, Steve Alm do the same thing for the Lindani Myeni case. That should happen immediately,” said protester Georgia Thompson West, who also identified herself as a friend of the Myeni family.
The continued pressure also comes after another side of the Myeni story emerged. Days after a doorbell video was released by an attorney for Myeni’s family, an attorney for the woman who called 911 that night claims the video is misleading.
The attorney told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the woman believed Myeni had been recording her with his cellphone when he followed her into the Nuuanu home she was renting. She also believed that she and her husband would become victims.
The attorney reportedly wouldn’t confirm if she told this to police after Myeni was killed in her front yard.
The attorney did not return calls from Hawaii News Now.
Protesters aren’t buying it.
“First they killed him, then they slandered and assassinated his character after the fact by saying things that were not true, which devastates the family, but it also devastates those of us that really care and are deeply affected by police killings,” said West.
The demonstrators also said the death of 16-year-old Sykap was avoidable. They not only want convictions of the police officers involved, but also meaningful changes in police policies.
“It does concern me a lot, which is why I think it’s important that as a community, we keep putting the pressure on and keep requiring and demanding that we get transparency and accountability for every case,” said Destiny Brown.
“They’re coming in with a really strong arm in both of these cases, when I think that some of the funds that go to HPD would be better redirected towards mental health crisis response,” said Becky Gardner.
“Communities like Waianae and Kalihi, where people like myself and Iremamber are from, are constantly defunded,” said rapper Punahele. “Programs for education are defunded, and nobody wants to address that as well.”
Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic has said that there are changes on the way, including revisions to the HPD body camera policy and police updates within 24 hours of any officer-involved shooting.
Meanwhile, the group “Back Da Blue Hawaii” plans a march and a convoy supporting HPD officer next week Friday and Saturday.
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