Police release witness video, audio from alleged officer-involved shooting
UPDATE: Officer Yuseff Hamadeh has been fired from the Baton Rouge Police Department.
BRPD made the announcement in a press release late Thursday afternoon, saying he was terminated after a hearing related to a shooting that occurred in August.
A criminal investigation has been turned over to the District Attorney's Office.
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BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Police Department is expected to release witness video and audio from an officer-involved shooting that occurred last month.
> UPDATE: Shorly after lunch, BRPD released video related to this case. CLICK HERE to watch a short clip of officers discussing the shooting. What appears to be a gunshot is heard in the beginning. It's not clear who fired the shot. Watch afternoon and evening editions of WBRZ News 2 Wednesday for more of the video.
According to police reports, Officer Yuseff Hamadeh attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Raheem Howard in the 2000 block of N. 16th Street.
Howard fled on foot and Hamadeh chased him to the next street before the suspect reportedly fired a single gunshot at the officer. Hamadeh then returned fire, according to BRPD.
Howard was arrested two days later, and adamantly maintained his innocence, even offering to take a lie detector test. He said he did not have possession of a gun during the incident.
After Howard's arrest, his attorney filed a motion to reduce his bond when it was discovered there wasn't body cam or dash cam footage of the alleged shootout. At the time of the traffic stop, Hamadeh's cameras weren't rolling. The motion also stated that the gun used in the alleged exchange of fire had not been found.
On Tuesday, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said that he would not pursue charges against Howard at this time. Moore cited a lack of evidence in the case as the reason for not moving forward with charges.
After Moore's announcement, BRPD Chief Murphy Paul announced that the department would release the witness video and audio from the police unit's rear camera.
Wednesday afternoon, Raheem Howard's attorney released the following statement regarding the video and audio evidence:
"The audio and video released confirms what our client and brave members of the community have maintained to be the truth. That there was only one shot fired. And given that Officer Hahm. admitted to firing his weapon the gun fire had to come from him.
However, the release of the audio still leaves questions to be answered. Why didn’t the audio pick up the initial interaction between Mr. Howard and Officer Hahm.? Did he give any verbal commands or was this just chase and shoot? What were the other responding officers statements regarding the shooting? It was clear that there was one gun fired. Did they also participate in the pushing of this narrative that my client fired at Officer Hahm. or did they tell the truth?
What is troubling is that Officer Hahm. put our client’s life in further harm after shooting at him by misrepresenting to the other officers while they were hunting for him that he was armed when in fact he was not.
We will remain diligent in the pursuit of answers to the questions regarding this matter. The dismissing of the charges against Mr. Howard is a step in the process for justice. Not only for Raheem but the community as well.”