Former officer accused of lying about shooting may face grand jury

Former officer accused of lying about shooting may face grand jury

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Former Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) officer Yuseff Hamadeh may soon face a grand jury, according to Baton Rouge attorney Ron Haley.

Hamadeh could be charged in connection with a 2018 shots fired incident in which he allegedly claimed Raheem Howard shot at him during a police pursuit, according to Haley. He could also face charges for a 2017 officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Jordan Frazier, Haley says.

In the 2018 incident, Hamadeh was ensnared in the high-profile case in which investigators determined there was no evidence to support Hamadeh’s claims that Howard shot at Hamadeh while fleeing a traffic stop. During the incident, Hamadeh opened fire on Howard as he fled, documents show.

On Aug. 10, 2018, Howard was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and illegal use of a weapon. Moments before Howard was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on those charges, he said to WAFB cameras, “They got the dashcam and the body cam… I didn’t have anything.”

Shortly thereafter on Aug. 29, 2018, BRPD Chief Murphy Paul released a statement in regards to public outcry to release body cam footage, admitting neither Hamadeh’s body cam or the front-facing dashcam in the officer’s vehicle were turned on during the incident. The rear-facing camera was on, officials said, but it was facing downward so it did not capture any relevant footage. More than a month after his arrest on Oct. 2, 2018, Howard was released from jail.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, Officer Hamadeh was fired from BRPD following an administrative hearing in relation to the shooting. Days later on Oct. 24, 2018, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore started dismissing criminal cases Hamadeh was involved in. Records indicate some of the cases involved drugs and illegal weapons.

The Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board later granted an appeal of the firing based on procedural violations during an internal investigation into his actions. Hamadeh was allegedly denied counsel during a polygraph test performed by BRPD investigators, his attorney argued.

In a news release issued Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, BRPD 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 resigned from his position effective Feb. 14, 2019.

In a conversation with WAFB Saturday, Jan. 11, Haley said he is happy that the process is underway, but that Howard’s family is choosing not to “hold their breath." Rather, Howard’s family is monitoring the situation and allowing the justice system to work.

In the 2017 shooting, Frazier died after being shot multiple times following a traffic stop involving Hamadeh, records show. Louisiana State Police investigators said Frazier exited the vehicle holding a gun before officers fired on him.

Haley said no further statements will be made on the case until proceedings have completed.

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