HONOLULU — Honolulu’s prosecutor on Monday said his office will not appeal a judge’s decision to reject murder and attempted murder charges filed against three police officers in the fatal shooting of a teenager.
Steve Alm defended his office’s decision to pursue charges against the officers, saying its investigation found the officers’ use of deadly force wasn’t justified.
He said the officers hadn’t followed the Honolulu Police Department’s use of force policy and that they didn’t use self-defense.
“Now the court system has spoken. I understand that. I accept that the prosecution of those three officers by this office is over,” Alm said at a news conference.
His office had charged Geoffrey Thom with murder for the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap on April 5. Prosecutors charged Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces with attempted murder for also opening fire.
The charges came after prosecutors took their case to a grand jury but failed to win an indictment there.
Alm said he knew the decision to bring charges against the officers would not be popular with some in the community, but he said prosecutors have a job to do.
“We do an objective investigation of the facts. And if laws are broken, that person or persons is held accountable. No one is above the law and nobody should be given a pass on being held accountable,” he said.
District Court Judge William Domingo ruled against the charges on Wednesday after listening to several days of preliminary hearing testimony to determine whether the officers should be tried. He also reviewed footage from video cameras worn by several police officers.
Domingo found the officers were in danger when they approached the car Sykap was driving after he lead police on a high-speed chase up to 80 mph on highways and city streets.