The Honolulu Police Department said Tuesday it won’t be sharing body camera footage of its officers shooting and killing a 16-year-old earlier this month.

“The Kalakaua Ave./Philip St. body worn camera videos and 911 recordings will not be released because the case involves juveniles,” department spokeswoman Sarah Yoro said in a statement.

‘Stop Murders by Police!’ demonstration at the intersection of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue.
Demonstrators gathered last weekend to protest deadly uses of force by Honolulu police officers. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Iremamber Sykap was killed as officers were pursuing the car he was driving, which police said was stolen. The department has declined to share basic information about the incident, including what prompted the officers to use deadly force.

Yoro did not cite a provision of any law that allows HPD to withhold the video and audio files. She did not immediately respond to questions about why the department won’t release footage redacting the faces of juveniles, the practice in other jurisdictions.

The announcement comes days after HPD released body camera video of officers shooting and killing a South African man in Nuuanu. In the case of Lindani Myeni, Acting Deputy Chief Allan Nagata praised officers for their response and said officers’ actions were justified.

“This was not a case of overreaction,” he said. A department investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Honolulu Public Defender Jacquie Esser has been calling for the release of the video in the Sykap case. On Tuesday, she said HPD’s refusal to share it makes the department look guilty.

“If the videos showed that their actions of killing him were justified, they would release them,” she said. “We’re going to continue to demand transparency and accountability into Iremamber Sykap’s killing.”

Josh Wisch, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, said HPD needs to be more transparent because the agency has lost public trust.

“When you consider the information that has been selectively released by HPD, and the long history of HPD’s lack of transparency, telling us to just trust everything we’re being told by the police is just too much to ask,” he said.

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