Officer Geoffrey Thom was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly firing the shots that killed Sykap “without provocation.” And officers Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces faced second-degree attempted murder charges.
Judge William Domingo determined that the officers had no way of knowing that the suspects being pursued in the car chase were unarmed teenagers when they opened fire.
“All we had was a white Honda speeding away, trying to avoid being arrested,” Domingo said at the end of a weeks-long preliminary hearing.
Thomas Otake, the attorney who represents Ah Nee, told Fintech Zoom that he was not surprised by the grand jury and the court’s decisions.
“This was clearly a case of officers acting to protect themselves and the public. It was not even a close call,” Otake said in an emailed statement.
Richard Sing, who represents Thom, agreed with Otake’s stance.
“The rejection of the prosecutors misguided accusations by both the grand jury and then by the courts, all within 2 months of each other, means that the charges were utterly without merit or cause,” Sing told Fintech Zoom in a statement.
Fredeluces’ lawyer, Crystal K. Glendon, said that justice prevailed.
“Both attempts failed because they were without merit,” Glendon told Fintech Zoom in an email. “A case that never should have been charged was resoundingly dismissed not once, but twice.”
Prosecutors had said body camera video contradicted the officers’ claims that Sykap attempted to use the car to ram them, putting their lives in danger. Sykap was not complying with officers’ demands but did not at any time pose a threat to their lives, according to the criminal complaints filed against the officers.
The body camera video has not been released to the public.
Fintech Zoom’s Joe Sutton and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.