Members of the Honolulu Police Commission today questioned a deputy chief about why the department won’t release body camera footage from officers who shot and killed a 16-year-old boy.
The department has said it won’t release the footage because there were juveniles involved. Iremamber Sykap, 16, was driving a stolen car that was linked to a crime spree, police said.
Chief Susan Ballard said previously the department was still reviewing footage from more than 50 officers.
There was a replica gun — something that looked like a real firearm — found in the car, Deputy Chief Aaron Takasaki-Young told the commissioners. The department is relying on state statute in not releasing the footage because three juveniles and two adults were arrested on suspicion of charges ranging from attempted murder to unlawful entry of a motor vehicle, he said.
They have been released pending an investigation and if no charges are pursued, then the department will revisit releasing the footage, he said.
Commissioner Doug Chin said that reasoning might be difficult for others to understand. “I think that’s the part that doesn’t make sense to the people and public,” he said. “In other words, if the camera says what the camera says, why not just release it?”
Commissioners questioned why footage redacting identities of the juveniles couldn’t be released. Chin noted that police shootings that killed juveniles in other parts of the U.S. have been released.
“Is this a technology issue, is there something about our laws here in Hawaii that makes it different?” he asked.
Takasaki-Young said he’s not familiar with the other incidents but they didn’t involve other juveniles. He said it might also be a difference in laws.
The Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office will be reviewing the incident, Takasaki-Young said.