Honolulu officers want charges dismissed in fatal shooting

  • In this June 25 file photo, Honolulu Police officers Geoffrey Thom, left, Christopher Fredeluces, and Zackary Ah Nee arrive at court in Honolulu to face charges in connection with the April 5 fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Micronesian boy. (Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP, File)

HONOLULU — Three Honolulu police officers are asking a judge to dismiss charges against them in connection with a shooting that killed a 16-year-old Micronesian boy.

Prosecutors pursuing charges against them after a grand jury declined to indict them “is statutorily and constitutionally impermissible,” said a motion to dismiss by Officer Zackary Ah Nee. Attorneys representing fellow Officers Geoffrey Thom and Christopher Fredeluces have joined in the motion filed Tuesday. The April 5 shooting killed Iremamber Sykap, who police said was driving a stolen car linked to an armed robbery, burglary, purse-snatching and car theft. Sykap led officers on a chase immediately before the shooting, police said.

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Thom, who prosecutors said fired 10 rounds at Sykap through the rear window of the car after it stopped, is charged with murder. Ah Nee and Fredeluces, who also opened fire, are charged with second-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors filed the charges after a grand jury declined to indict the officers.

At a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 20, prosecutors “will take a second bite at the apple, taking advantage of second opportunity, before a different decision-maker,” to establish probable cause that they failed to convince grand jurors of, the motion said.

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The officers believed “that the stolen Honda’s occupants had committed an armed robbery, during which a firearm was brandished, about a half-hour before they led officers on the high-speed chase; and that the stolen Honda’s occupants had committed other violent and reckless offenses, both during the high-speed chase and in days preceding it,” the motion said.

The Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday approved the officers’ requests for legal counsel to defend them against the charges. Commission members based their decision on whether the officers are legally entitled to legal counsel, not on the merits of case.