A 21-year-old who was accused of shooting at a Baton Rouge police officer wants the cop to be charged instead.
Raheem Howard was released from East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Oct. 2 after the Baton Rouge Police Department did not have enough evidence to keep him in jail for allegedly shooting at Baton Rouge Police Department Officer Yuseff Hamadeh.
“There was not evidence. Because he didn’t have a gun, he didn’t fire a shot,” Howard’s attorney Ron Haley told WAFB. “I think the suppression of the evidence by the cameras either malfunctioning or being willfully turned off only lends to that argument.”
On August 10, Howard was taken into custody for allegedly shooting at officer Hamadeh during a traffic stop. The 21-year-old pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder of a police officer and illegal use of a weapon, charges that have been dropped.
Officer Hamadeh, a two-year veteran, claimed that Howard fled on foot after he was pulled over for a traffic violation. The cop said that while he was chasing Howard the 21-year-old turned toward him and fired a single gunshot and Hamadeh shot back.
The public demanded for authorities to release the body camera footage of the incident, but Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul stated that neither officer Hamadeh’s body cam nor the front-facing dash cam in the officer’s car was turned on during the incident. Officials also said the rear-facing camera was on but was facing downward.
“His body cam that we’ve been asked to pay for and the citizens of this community have been asked to foot the bill for, was purposely left off. His dash cam, that this community has been asked to pay for, purposely left off,” Ted James, a representative for Howard, stated on August 30.
The 21-year-old and his mother Tenesia Howard are now calling for Hamadeh to be charged with attempted murder for firing at her son. They’re also calling the incident a cover-up orchestrated by the BRPD.
“What I’m hoping to see move forward with this case is that the officer be arrested, because he absolutely tried to kill Raheem, and it’s not fair that he’s sitting there earning a paycheck and he’s not being charged,” said Tenesia.
Howard and his representatives are in talks about pursuing civil action against Officer Hamadeh.
“I asked the detective wearing the body camera, ‘Show me the video.’ He was like he seen the video, he seen me with the gun. I’m like, ‘You didn’t see me with anything.’ I asked to take the lie detector test, he was like, ‘I am the lie detector test.’ I felt like they didn’t do no investigation,” said the 21-year-old.
“There’s a lot of gray area in this case, and that gray area is not because of my client,” said Haley. “It’s because of the purposeful act of the officer.”