The Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu in the US state of Hawaii has announced that he will launch an independent investigation into two police shooting incidents in the city, including the death of South African Lindani Myeni on April 14.
The Honolulu Police Department also shot and killed 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap during a car chase on April 5.
Prosecutor Steve Alm says the launch of these probes is in no way a commentary on the actions of police, but an effort to bring greater independence to the investigation.
“Whenever you have an agency that is involved in the shooting, then responsible for investigating that shooting, you are always going to have that perception among some that it’s not appropriate and thus their final conclusions and recommendations may be suspect. And I believe it is critical to have an independent but thorough objective investigation into both of these cases and for any future police involved shootings of civilians,” Alm says.
Adding that: “To achieve that I am assigning teams of seasoned prosecutors and investigators to each separate shooting incident involving civilians. They have extensive experience both in the state system and the federal system to investigate each of these recent cases starting with the one in Nuuanu and on Kawakawa.”
Alm announces the independent probe:
Alm has indicated that evidence like the full bodycam footage and documents will not be released to the public during their investigation – the Myeni family attorney’s key request. Alm also says the Honolulu Police Department is cooperating with his investigation, but has provided no clear timelines for when he hopes to conclude his probe into the Myeni case.
The lead attorney representing Lindsay Myeni, the widow of Lindani Myeni, has expressed mixed feelings over this.
“There’s several huge red flags in this case. The first one is the Mayor told everyone last week that she had tried the police commissioner to brief him on what’s going on, what happened and she refuses to return his calls. They have not released the 911 tapes that’s very standard I can’t even remember a major incident where they didn’t release the call from the complainant to the dispatchers,” Jim Bickerton said was an interview with SABC News Correspondent, Sherwin Bryce-Pease.
More on his views in the video below:
Remains to land in SA on Saturday
Myeni’s family says his remains will arrive in the country on Saturday. Twenty nine-year-old Myeni was shot and killed by police in Hawaii earlier this month.
The repatriation of his body started in Hawaii in the US on Wednesday.
The family has thanked the South African government for its support in getting the former KwaZulu-Natal rugby player’s body back to the country.
Myeni’s wife, Lindsay, held a press conference on Thursday in Pretoria where she expressed gratitude. She says she is continuing with the wrongful death lawsuit and is now fighting to get Myeni’s belongings back – including his cellphone and clothes. Lindsay believes the Hawaii Police are hiding something and that why they won’t release the belongings.
On Saturday morning – the family will collect the remains from OR Tambo International Airport and transport it to Richards Bay.
A memorial service will be held next Thursday and the funeral will be on Saturday, May 8.
Myeni’s body was initially expected to arrive on Friday.
The family explains reasons for the delay in the video below:
Additional reporting by Noma Bolani