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Three Honolulu officers charged in fatal shooting of 16-year-old

Prosecutors have charged Honolulu police officer Geoffrey Thom with fatally shooting Iremamber Sykap on April 5. Photo courtesy of District Court of the First Circuit State of Hawaii
Prosecutors have charged Honolulu police officer Geoffrey Thom with fatally shooting Iremamber Sykap on April 5. Photo courtesy of District Court of the First Circuit State of Hawaii

June 16 (UPI) -- A Hawaii police officer was charged with murder and two others were charged with attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old, prosecutors said.

Honolulu police officer Geoffrey Thom, 42, was charged with one count of second-degree murder for shooting through the rear window of a white Honda during a car chase on April 5, killing 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap.

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Officers Zackary Ah Nee, 26, and Christopher Fredeluces, 40, were both charged with second-degree attempted murder.

All three officers face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years without the possibility of parole if convicted on all charges.

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Sykap was shot eight times and his brother, Mark Sykap, was struck by two bullets and survived.

The court complaint stated that Thom fired the fatal shots "without provocation."

"The evidence supports the conclusion that the defendants' use of deadly force, in this case, was unnecessary, unreasonable and unjustified under the law," the complaint states.

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Prosecutors said body camera video, which has not been released to the public, contradicts claims by the officers that Sykap endangered their lives by using the car to ram them. They said that Sykap was not complying with the officers' demands but did not pose a threat to their lives.

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"There was no one in front of the white Honda, and there were no civilians on the sidewalk or anywhere in front of the white Honda," the complaint states. "The evidence confirms that Defendant Thom did intentionally or knowingly cause the death of Iremamber Sykap by shooting eight times."

The charges come after a grand jury chose not to indict the officers and HPD Chief Rade Vanic said he was "surprised" by the prosecuting attorney's decision.

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"This is highly unusual and we are not aware of a similar action having been taken in the past," said Vanic. "While we await the court's decision, we will continue to protect and serve the community as we have always done."

The officers will have their police powers removed and will be assigned to desk duty while they await an initial court appearance on June 25.

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