Preliminary hearing for 3 HPD officers charged in deadly shooting resumes with new video, witness testimony

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 11:47 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A preliminary hearing resumed Tuesday to determine whether three Honolulu police officers should be tried in the deadly April 5 shooting of a teen.

Lt. Brandon Nakasone — of the Honolulu Police Department’s Professional Standards Office, which conducts investigations into allegations of police misconduct — was the first witness to take the stand during day four of the hearing.

During cross examination, a short clip from surveillance video from a nearby apartment complex in the area of Kalakaua Avenue and Philip Street from April 5 was presented, showing the movement of the white Honda being driven by 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap. Nakasone confirmed that the vehicle came to a complete stop, moved forward, reversed and drove forward again.

The attorneys defending the officers say they fired their weapons because the car was in motion and put their fellow officers in danger.

The prosecution pointed out that no one was directly in front of the car, and therefore, no one was in immediate danger.

HPD said the Honda was actually ramming the patrol cars before the shots were fired — something the prosecution disputes.

Body camera still pictures were also presented, showing scuff marks and paint chips from one of the HPD vehicles.

When asked by deputy city Prosecutor Christopher Van Marter if it’s possible that the “collision” didn’t cause any damage to the HPD vehicle and that it could’ve been damage caused by a previous user, Nakasone responded, “it’s possible.”

The officers started chasing the Honda after a home invasion.

HPD Officer Jessica Uehara, who responded to the home invasion, was the second witness to testify on Tuesday.

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office is trying to establish probable cause, saying three HPD officers should go on trial for second-degree murder and attempted murder charges.

A grand jury declined to indict the officers, but the Prosecutor’s Office moved forward with charges against the three. A judge denied a motion to throw out the case because they were charged via complaint.

Officer Geoffrey Thom is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Sykap. Officers Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces, meanwhile, are charged with attempted murder.

The preliminary hearing began last month. In the last session, body camera footage was presented in court, making it public for the first time.

Continuing Coverage:

Testimony continues Wednesday and could wrap up then. The judge will then decide if there is enough probable cause for a trial.

This story will be updated.

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