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City prosecutor says he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by ruling in Sykap case

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 1:54 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu City Prosecutor Steve Alm said Monday that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the judge’s ruling in a murder case against three police officers.

But he added that he accepts it and will not appeal the decision.

Last week, District Court Judge William Domingo agreed with defense attorneys that the officers did appear to be in danger when they fatally shot 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap in April.

Officer Geoffrey Thom had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting, while Officers Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces were charged with attempted murder.

“We did an independent review in the Sykap case and determined that the use of deadly force was not justified and attempted to bring charges. Judge Domingo disagree and so be it,” Alm said.

He added: “I knew that prosecuting the three police officers would not be a popular decision by some in the community but that is what accountability looks like.”

In a statement Monday, attorney Richard Sing ― who represented Thom ― applauded Alm’s decision not to pursue prosecution of the three officers.

He added: “The prosecution’s relentless defense of a theory that has been resoundingly rejected by both the citizens of the grand jury and our judicial system is deeply troubling.”

Attorneys for the other officers also weighed in on Alm’s comments.

Thomas Otake - who represented Ah Nee - criticized Alm’s arguments calling them “misguided”.

Otake said, “It was disappointing to hear him misrepresent facts, and disparage a good judge.”

Crystal Glendon - the attorney for Fredeluces said her client “is saddened and disheartened” by Alm’s statements given that two, fact-finders determined that there was no probable cause.

“Instead of using this opportunity to focus on their decision to not proceed any further with the case, we are disappointed that they continue to blame the Grand Jury and Judge Domingo for the office’s inaccurate belief that probable cause ever existed,” Glendon said.

Alm emphasized that his office will continue to investigate all fatal officer involved shootings.

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