BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Former Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) officer, Yuseff Hamadeh, will not be charged for his role in a 2018 shots fired incident, which cost him his job.
While the attorney for Hamadeh, Thomas Dewey, is pleased with the grand jury’s decision, attorneys representing Raheem Howard are filled with disappointment
“He’s [Hamedeh] relieved, very relieved to put this part of it behind him. It’s been a difficult time for him,” said Dewey.
“He’s [Howard] devastated by this. What he wanted was justice. He’s not after money or some sort of financial gain,” said Attorney Ron Haley, who represents Howard.
Hamadeh will not be charged for firing shots at Howard back in August of 2018 after he alleged Howard shot at him first.
“It caused great harm and embarrassment to my client [Howard] when he was perp-walked out and was begging for his freedom. His [Hamadeh] lies put 50 years over our client’s head,” said Haley.
Hamadeh is also still eligible to work in law enforcement, the 9News Investigators have learned.
In 2018, Hamadeh reported to BRPD superiors he returned fire to an armed suspect later identified as Raheem Howard. Howard was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison with an attempted murder of a police officer charge and illegal use of a weapon charge.
Moments before Howard was booked on those charges, he said to WAFB cameras, “They got the dashcam and the body cam… I didn’t have anything.”
However, Hamadeh’s story of that encounter soon fell apart.
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.
Dewey says his client took a polygraph test and was asked two questions regarding the incident and passed the test.
“He [Hamedeh] was shown to be truthful on both of those questions, that he was in fear, and he had been fired upon, and the other person did have a weapon,” said Dewey.
However, Haley says the questions of the polygraph test were not specific to the incident involving Howard.
“We can discuss and debate whether if this was an accidental shooting or intentional, but what cannot be debated, what is not gray area, that he lied on Mr. Howard,” said Haley.
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.
The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement confirmed to WAFB’s Scottie Hunter that the Baton Rouge Police Department did in fact reach out to them to try and strip Yuseff Hamadeh of his certification after they reached that termination agreement, but that request was denied.
“Chief Paul did request a revocation hearing, but the POST Council denied the request because it did not meet the requirements,” a spokesman with LCLE said.
A spokesman for the agency says Yuseff Hamadeh remains POST certified. This means he is eligible to work for another law enforcement agency in the future if he chooses to do so.
Howard’s attorney, Ron Haley, previously told WAFB Howard’s family was choosing not to “hold their breath" about Hamadeh being charged.
A grand jury recently began considering charging Hamadeh.
However, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore confirmed that jury declined to do so Thursday, Feb. 6.
Both attorneys have different opinions on what this outcome means for police officers.
“For all the police officers out there, it’s a difficult position that they live in, life and death situations everyday, and to be so closely scrutinized, and even when they’re justified in their actions, sometimes they still lose their job or have to resign,” said Dewey.
“It’s frightening, it’s absolutely frightening to the communities that they are sworn to protect and serve. It shows that it’s open season, and that they [officers] can do what they want, when they want, how they want, and they will be protected,” said Haley.
Hamadeh was also on the hook for a fatal 2017 officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Jordan Frazier.
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.
The grand jury also declined to charge Hamadeh for that incident.
Dewey says his client is now working in the private sector and has no plans to become a police officer again.