Yuseff Hamadeh

Yuseff Hamadeh 

Despite the firing of the Baton Rouge police officer who shot at a motorist in August, the department's investigators found no probable cause to arrest him, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday.

Yuseff Hamadeh, a two-year veteran of the police department, was fired Thursday after an investigation into the Aug. 7 officer-involved shooting during a traffic stop. Moore said BRPD detectives did not believe they had enough evidence to accuse their colleague of a crime.

“I will review and eventually make some decision, whether that’s a decision alone or with a grand jury, given the fact that I’ve been told by (BRPD) investigators that they don’t have sufficient evident to articulate probable cause for any crime by the officer," Moore said Friday. 

When Baton Rouge police officials announced that Hamadeh had been terminated, they said they turned over the criminal investigation to Moore's office. Moore said Friday he had received the majority of reports from the police investigation, but is still waiting on some. He said his office will do their own review of the investigation and evidence. 

Howard's attorney, Ronald Haley Jr., said he believes that the district attorney's office will respond justly to the case. 

“I have no reason to believe the (attorney general) or Hillar Moore’s office won’t do the right thing," Haley said. "But we will hold them accountable.”

Hamadeh initially reported that he shot at the motorist, 21-year-old Raheem Howard, because Howard had first fired at him. However officials later said there was no evidence to support the officer's version of events. 

Moore dropped the case against Howard, whom police had initially arrested on attempted murder of a police officer. He was held in jail for almost three weeks on those allegations. 

Howard was initially stopped about 6 p.m. on North 15th Street in the Northdale neighborhood for a missing license plate, and immediately ran from the officer. Hamadeh pursued him, chasing him through the neighborhood and into a resident's home — then the officer fired his weapon. Witnesses and neighbors reported only hearing one shot.

No one was injured in the shooting.

Upon his arrest, Howard pleaded for investigators and media to review body camera footage from the incident to prove his innocence. He said he never had a gun or fired at the officer.

After denying a public records request for that body camera footage, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul admitted in late August that there was no body camera or dash camera video of the incident, which is against department policy.

Hamadeh also shot and killed another man in June 2017, also following a traffic stop.

In that incident, police said Hamadeh fired his weapon after Jordan Frazier turned and pointed a weapon at officers. Hamadeh was later awarded a medal of valor for his response in that incident, however Moore has not yet cleared him of criminal charges in that shooting.

There was also no body or dash camera footage of that incident. 

Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.