Yuseff Hamadeh resigns from BRPD, attorney says
Officer at center of Raheem Howard case quits force, will receive back pay
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Officer Yuseff Hamadeh has resigned from the Baton Rouge Police Department, according to his attorney.
Tommy Dewey confirmed to WAFB that his client, Hamadeh, resigned after the police department waived their appeal. Dewey says his client will receive back pay from the Baton Rouge Police Department.
“Mr. Hamadeh reached a stipulated agreement with the Baton Rouge Police Department. The Police Department waived their appeal and allowed the absolute nullity to stand. His Internal affairs will reflect such. He will receive his back pay from his date of resignation from his date of termination. In return, Mr. Hamadeh voluntarily resigned,” Dewey said in a statement.
Hamadeh was fired in late 2018 after an internal affairs investigation uncovered evidence that contradicted his statements about being shot at during a chase. Those statements led to attempted murder charges filed against Raheem Howard, which were eventually dropped.
Dewey said he is unsure of Hamadeh’s “future plans,” but says Hamadeh is currently working in the private sector.
In a news release issued Friday, Feb. 22 from the Baton Rouge Police Department, Chief Murphy Paul announced BRPD and Hamadeh entered an agreement that allowed Hamadeh to resign from the police department in place of any further proceedings related to his termination. Hamadeh has resigned from his position effective Feb. 14.
Howard’s attorney, Ron Haley, spoke with WAFB Friday about Hamadeh’s resignation and settlement with the department, saying he welcomes the resignation, but claims it falls short of justice in this case and sets a dangerous precedent going forward.
“It gives a bad message to the community that there is a benefit for this type of behavior,” said Haley. “Additionally, if he chooses to get on with another department, in this case, with nothing as far as we know on his record, I think still puts the community at risk if he chooses to get into that field again.”
BRPD previously fired Hamadeh for violation of the following department policies: truthfulness, carrying out orders, body worn camera, and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to the police department.
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Hamadeh appealed his termination on the basis it was not justified. He then filed a motion with the Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board to nullify the termination on the basis the department denied him counsel assistance during his polygraph examination.
The Police Officer’s Bill of Rights gives officer’s the right to assistance of counsel while being interrogated. And Louisiana case law recognizes that polygraph examinations are a form of interrogation. However, polygraph examinations are unique because no one is allowed in the room during a polygraph examination except for the officer and the polygraph examiner. And that arguably creates a conflict between the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights and the long-standing practice of using polygraph examinations during investigations. Furthermore, there is a split in the appellate circuits on this issue and the law is unclear. As a result, the risk going forward is that a Louisiana appellate court could decide that Mr. Hamadeh’s polygraph examination violated the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights. And, if it that happened, then Mr. Hamadeh would have to be reinstated to his position as a Baton Rouge police officer.
According to the release, the department “adamantly” disputed Hamadeh’s argument, but the civil service board ruled in his favor. BRPD was in the process of appealing the civil service board’s ruling when the department was notified they violated Police Officer’s Bill of Rights. If it that happened, Hamadeh would have to be reinstated to his position.
“The department is not willing to take that risk. We believe it’s in the best interest of this community that Mr. Hamadeh is no longer policing the citizens and visitors of the City of Baton Rouge," Chief Murphy Paul stated. “After careful consideration and discussions with our attorney and BRPD senior staff, the department agreed to the settlement offer proposed by Mr. Hamadeh’s attorney. The department stands by its decision to terminate Mr. Hamadeh and believes it would have been successful in our appeal to the 19th Judicial District Court. However, there was a risk to the department in going forward.”
BRPD said it submitted documents to the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training in order to request revocation of Hamadeh’s certification and entry into their Louisiana Uniform Law Enforcement Statewide Reporting Database.
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