Raheem Howard to file lawsuit against BRPD
BATON ROUGE- An attorney for a man accused -- and then cleared -- of shooting at a Baton Rouge police officer said the officer's conduct in that case demonstrates a larger problem with a particular team of officers.
The Street Crimes Unit has an "anything goes" mentality and its members feel shielded from being held accountable for their actions, Ronald Haley said Monday in a news release announcing that he intends to file a lawsuit against the department on Raheem Howard's behalf Tuesday.
Howard was arrested in August, days after he ran from a traffic stop. Officer Yuseff Hamadeh fired a shot at the fleeing Howard, claiming that Howard had fired at him first. Neither man was hit.
After Howard's arrest, he admitted to reporters that the ran from the traffic stop, but repeatedly denied having shot at Hamadeh, or at anyone.
A BRPD internal investigation did not support Hamadeh's account of the encounter and Chief Murphy Paul fired him. Hamadeh has appealed his termination, and that appeal is working its way through state court.
Haley said the Street Crimes Unit has a "cultural problem" and members believe the "Blue Wall of Silence" will protect them from consequences, according to the news release.
Howard's lawyers will hold a news conference Tuesday at the federal courthouse.
Baton Rouge Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The department typically does not comment on pending litigation.