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Former BRPD officer plans to appeal termination following August shooting investigation

1 month 3 weeks 3 days ago Monday, October 15 2018 Oct 15, 2018 October 15, 2018 9:09 PM October 15, 2018 in Crime
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: An officer, who was fired from the Baton Rouge Police Department last week after a months-long investigation into a shooting, plans to submit an appeal against his termination later this week, according to his lawyer.

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BATON ROUGE - An officer embroiled in a months-long investigation into a shooting which stemmed from a traffic stop has been fired from the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Late Thursday afternoon, BRPD released a statement announcing Yuseff Hamadeh had been terminated after a disciplinary hearing related to his encounter with Raheem Howard on Aug. 7.

Police said Hamadeh fired his weapon at Howard as he allegedly fled a traffic stop on N. 15th Street. Hamadeh claimed that the suspect shot at him first, and he was only returning fire. However, Hamadeh's body camera and in-car camera were not rolling during the incident.

In the weeks following Howard's arrest, BRPD said it was investigating the incident, listening to the audio from the unit's rearview camera and examining witness video from the stop. Howard repeatedly claimed he was innocent and that he never had a gun in his possession during the incident.

Police later released that video and audio, which seemed to suggest that only one shot was fired in the encounter. Police never found the weapon Howard allegedly used to fire at Hamadeh, and East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore later said he would not pursue criminal charges against Howard due to a lack of evidence.

Hamadeh was a 2-year veteran in the Street Crimes Unit. He was placed on paid leave while BRPD investigated the shooting and then placed on restricted duty up until his firing.

A criminal investigation into Hamadeh's actions has been turned over to the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office.

On Friday, the Baton Rouge Union of Police released a statement criticizing BRPD for its decision to fire Hamadeh.

"Our members are further disappointed that political pressure continues to play such a substantial role in [officers'] careers," the group said in a Facebook post.

An attorney representing Raheem Howard says he and his family will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday to speak on Hamadeh's firing.

Hamadeh was cleared in another shooting that stemmed from a traffic stop in June 2017, which resulted in the death of Jordan Frazier. Hamadeh shot Frazier, who police say stepped out of his car with a gun in his hand. Investigators later determined that gun was stolen.

Police discovered Frazier was also in possession of ecstasy at the time of the shooting.

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