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Honolulu Council Chair Pushes for Release of Police Bodycam Footage

Associated Press

The Honolulu City Council's chairperson plans to discuss a potential measure that would push police to release body camera video from the fatal shooting of a teenager last month.

Chairperson Tommy Waters told Hawaii News Now this week that he reviewed statements on the Police Department's website regarding body cameras. He said they 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.

It comes amid a national reckoning over police use of force.

The Police Department says in an online statement that it “believes transparency is critical in establishing public trust and uses body-worn camera recordings to document police interactions.”

State Sen. Karl Rhoads said he was concerned that police released body camera footage from other high-profile events last month but not the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap.

“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.

Police say 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 department has refused to release body camera footage, saying it's because there were other minors in the car.

Waters said he will discuss possible legislation or a resolution with other council members.

“I want to support our HPD, and I think the community wants to support them,” Water said, “So there’s no reason why they should be withholding" the video.

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