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Police chief asks for patience as investigation into officer-involved shooting continues

2 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Wednesday, August 29 2018 Aug 29, 2018 August 29, 2018 5:51 PM August 29, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul is asking for the community's patience as his department investigates an officer-involved shooting where there is no body camera, dash cam, or rear cam video.

Wednesday, Paul confirmed to WBRZ no weapon was recovered either but urged the public not to draw a conclusion as the suspect was arrested two days later and the weapon could be somewhere else.

Raheem Howard was arrested earlier this month, accused of firing at Officer Yuseff Hamadeh. Hamadeh returned fire, but when officers began investigating, there was no video from his police-issued body camera.

Howard has maintained his innocence since he was taken into custody.

"I asked them to take a lie detector test, I asked about DNA," Howard said as he was escorted to a waiting police car on August 10, 2018. "I didn't do it. All I did was run."

Howard's attorney, Ron Haley, is demanding his release from jail.

"There should be evidence, let's start there," Haley said. "The evidence should be on the body camera footage that doesn't exist. It should be on the dash cam footage that doesn't exist and the rear cam that was facing down that doesn't exist."

Haley said his client is currently sitting in jail on a bond his family can't afford, as he says police try to get their story straight.

"This should not be a gray area issue," Haley said. "If the body cameras on, and the cameras in the vehicle are on, we would not be having this discussion."

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul sat down with WBRZ Wednesday and said his department is getting to the bottom of this. Paul said discipline could be administered to Hamadeh if he neglected to turn his body camera on.

"We do have policies in place that when a police officer does not have his body camera on and it's progressive," Paul said.

Multiple offenses could lead to termination. The first offense could include a verbal reprimand or unpaid days off.

This is the second time Hamadeh has been placed on leave as the department investigates issues. Last year, Hamadeh shot and killed Jordan Frazier after a traffic stop when police said Frazier pointed a gun at him. Hamadeh had not been issued a body camera yet and was cleared to return to the streets after that investigation wrapped up.

Chief Paul gave no time frame for how long the investigation might take. This morning, State Representative C. Denise Marcelle said over the phone she's very concerned about this case. Marcelle was instrumental in getting body cameras for Baton Rouge Police. Tonight, Marcelle said she had discussions with Chief Paul too and is concerned about transparency since there's no video.

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