In the year since Henry and Helen Frazier found out their 35-year-old son had been fatally shot by a Baton Rouge police officer, the couple has patiently waited to see the facts and review the evidence, before jumping to conclusions about the shooting — even after learning the bullets struck their son in his back.
When they periodically checked in with officials, they were told the investigation remained ongoing.
But when they found out this month that the officer who shot their son was recently awarded a Medal of Valor from the Baton Rouge Police Department for his actions in the shooting — before the case was closed — they said they were horrified.
"This guy got a Medal of Valor for killing our son?" Henry Frazier said in disbelief Monday. "I want to be as Christ-like as possible, but this is terrible. … Before the district attorney finishes his investigation, I’m going to give the person a medal of valor? ... This is an atrocity."
Henry Frazier and his wife both made it clear they are willing to accept the circumstances of his death if their son did threaten police with a firearm, but the latest developments have left them skeptical, concerned.
"Am I a police hater? No indeed," Henry Frazier said. "I served this nation, I back the blue. I still do. … I support it all, but as long as they are right."
Baton Rouge police officer Yuseff Hamadeh shot and killed Jordan Frazier on June 13, 2017, after a traffic stop on South Acadian Thruway near Broussard Street. State Police investigated the shooting, determining Frazier, a passenger in the vehicle pulled over in the traffic stop, exited the vehicle with a gun, began to flee and turned, pointing the gun towards the officer. He was shot three times, twice in the back — the bullets traveling from his back to the front of his torso — and once in the leg, according to East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark.
State Police also said the gun investigators found at the scene, which they said was used by Frazier, had been reported stolen from Ascension Parish.
Two Baton Rouge police officers involved in separate fatal shootings in 2017 were awarded the medal of valor Wednesday for their actions durin…
The officer in training who was with Hamadeh during the incident has not been identified, nor the driver of the vehicle in which Frazier had been a passenger. There is no body camera or dash camera video of the incident, police have said.
Hamadeh was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, but was back at work 14 days later, said Sgt. Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman
"Officer Hamadeh returned to work on June 27, 2017, when, after speaking with State Police, it became evident that they would not be accusing him of a crime," Coppola said.
The State Police investigation into the shooting has since been completed and passed on to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III for review, said Trooper First Class Bryan Lee, a State Police spokesman. Moore said he received an initial report from State Police in November, and further supplemental reports later on. He has yet to determine if any charges will be brought, he said. Moore said he hopes to complete his review in the next few months, when he will also release much of the evidence involved in the case.
Henry Frazier said he is most concerned that, in his opinion, police have not been forthcoming about the circumstances of the shooting that killed his son, and that the Baton Rouge Police Department, including Chief Murphy Paul, decided an award was appropriate for the officer involved in the shooting, despite the incomplete review of the case or any discussion with his family.
A 35-year-old father of nine was killed late Tuesday by a Baton Rouge police officer after he got out of a vehicle holding a handgun during a …
"If I’m giving someone a Medal of Valor, my name is going on that, I should know what I’m giving it for," Henry Frazier said. "Any way you slice this, my wife and I paid for (Hamadeh's) paid leave, paid for his Medal of Valor, and we are not even given the privilege of hearing why our son was killed? And the explanation that they had given us, according to the funeral director and the coroner, just doesn’t match up.”
Coppola said that Hamadeh was awarded the Medal of Valor for "his courageous act while protecting the life of his trainee." He made no comment about the case continuing to be under review by the district attorney.
Henry Frazier said he still remembers the June day that two State Police officers came to his front door to tell him an officer had killed his son. The officers said that his son had gotten out of the vehicle, holding a gun and the officer shot him.
"The way they told me, it was little or no doubt that my son was guilty," Henry Frazier said.
However, he said, days later when the autopsy was completed — which showed Jordan Frazier had been shot in the back — the officers asked to meet with the father again, this time giving him a new story about how his son had been running away from the scene and turned and pointed the weapon back at the officer.
“How can you guys make that big of a mistake?” Henry Frazier said. "This is a hurting thing here when you try to teach your children to do what’s right. … All the years of teaching them respect for law and order, I’m torn now.”
He said after finding out about the award last week following a hiatus from the news for medical reasons, he called the police chief asking to discuss the issue, but never heard back from him. Soon after their son was killed, the Fraziers said they heard from East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Moore, who both gave them their condolences, but nothing after that.
"If they had the decency to talk to us, we wouldn’t be in this place," said Helen Frazier, Jordan Frazier's mother, referring to any officials with knowledge of the investigation. "We have no answers. No one has come to talk to us, to explain what actually happened. I can only say that what we were told was not the truth. ... This is my baby boy, that hurts."
Henry Fraizer said he knows his son did not have angel wings, but said he had "the heart as big as Texas."
Jordan Frazier was the father of seven children and at the time of his death, he had been working construction for a Baton Rouge company, his parents said. They said he had been a stellar athlete at Northeastern High School in Zachary and studied for a year and a half at Southern University, before deciding college wasn't for him. They still keep his trophies from football, basketball, baseball and track in their home; recently two new trophies joined the shelf, added by two of Jordan Frazier's sons.
“I lost my baby boy. I lost our son," Helen Frazier said, then her voice trailed off. "I have seven grandchildren that don’t have a father. I have an older son who said it took everything away from him."
She and her husband readily admit that sometimes their son got caught up in the wrong crowd, following instead of leading.
At the time of the shooting, Jordan Frazier had been out on bail, awaiting court proceedings for a charge of possession with intent to distribute MDMA, or ecstasy. In 2014, a non-expiring protective order was issued against him on behalf of a woman who is the mother of five of his children. He was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia in 2008, and in 2014, he was convicted on charges of simple criminal damage to property, criminal trespass and aggravated assault, according to court records.
"He has respect for the law and he was afraid to die," Helen Frazier said. "I just need to know what happened to my child."
Both the Fraziers said now it will be hard to read the final report on the shooting.
“With what we see here, and what we’ve seen so far, and the results of the (Alton) Sterling investigation where a video showed this man down and shot to death," Henry Frazier said, "am I going to believe these people? No ma’am.”