Family sues after Honolulu police fatally shoot 16-year-old

HONOLULU — The family of a 16-year-old boy fatally shot by Honolulu police last month sued the city and unidentified police officers on Friday, alleging negligence, assault and battery.

The lawsuit filed by Akiwine Sykap, grandmother and legal guardian of Iremamber Sykap, and Yovita Lucio, the boy’s mother, asks a state court to award damages, reimburse costs and declare that the officers’ use of deadly force was unlawful and unauthorized.

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The complaint asks the court to prevent the defendants from “harassing or threatening” the plaintiffs and their families.

Honolulu spokesman Tim Sakahara said the city hasn’t been served with the lawsuit and couldn’t comment. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the department is declining to comment on pending litigation.

Police said Iremamber Sykap was driving a stolen Honda linked to a burglary, purse snatching, car theft and armed robbery and led officers on a chase before the shooting.

The lawsuit alleges officers fired multiple shots at Sykap after his vehicle came to a stop, when Sykap was unarmed and posed no risk to them. It says officers kept firing after the car lurched forward and ended up in a ditch.

The family says the department falsely claimed the car rammed police vehicles and that officers fired in self-defense. The lawsuit argues that the officers violated department policy and use-of-force standards when they shot Sykap.

The shooting comes amid a national reckoning over police use of force.

In the Honolulu teen’s death, police have refused to release body camera footage because there were other minors in the car.

City Council Chairperson Tommy Waters told Hawaii News Now this week that he plans to discuss introducing legislation or a resolution that would push police to release the video.

He said his review of statements on the Police Department’s website regarding body cameras show there is no reason police should not release all video from body cameras after redacting personal information.

“If you want the public trust, then that’s what you should do,” Waters said.

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State Sen. Karl Rhoads told the TV station that he was concerned police released body camera footage from other high-profile events last month but not Sykap’s fatal shooting.

“If the stance is going to be, we’re going to release what makes us look good and not release what doesn’t make us look good, in the long run, that’s very dangerous. They’re going to lose credibility every time that happens,” Rhoads said.

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