Wrongly accused Louisiana man honored at New York benefit

NEW YORK (AP) — A Louisiana man jailed after he was wrongly accused of shooting at a police officer has been honored at a criminal justice reform concert in New York.

Twenty-two-year-old Raheem Howard, of Baton Rouge, was flown up to New York for Tuesday’s fourth annual Tidal X Brooklyn concert as an honorary guest, The Advocate reported . Entertainment company Roc Nation paid for the trip. Roc Nation and Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service that puts on and broadcasts the concert, are owned by rapper Jay-Z.

During the concert, attendees cheered for Howard after political commentator Angela Rye shared how he gained his freedom after spending more than three weeks in jail for attempted murder of a police officer.

“The facts of the case, which came out after the community made it impossible for the DA to ignore, made it clear that Howard was innocent,” Rye said. “But it took your voices.”

Howard stood up at the concert with a grin on his face.

Now-fired Baton Rouge police officer Yuseff Hamadeh shot at Howard after he fled from a traffic stop. Hamadeh initially said Howard first shot at him, but Howard insisted he never had a gun. The Baton Rouge district attorney said there was no solid evidence showing Howard had a gun or fired one.

Howard also met and spoke with rapper Meek Mill, who has asked that his decade-old drug and gun convictions be thrown out because of credibility issues with the officer who testified against him. The two men were recorded on video sharing their experiences dealing with the police.

“He’s fired, but that’s not justice, I want him arrested,” Howard said of Hamadeh, while he spoke backstage to the rapper. “Arrest him just like you arrested me.”

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, sympathized with Howard, but reminded him to turn the situation into a positive.

Howard has said he hopes to be able to advocate for police reform and especially to get bad cops off the street.

Although fired from the police department, Hamadeh has not been charged in the incident. The district attorney’s office has said it is reviewing the case for any potential charges.

The proceeds from the concert supported nonprofit criminal justice groups like Equal Justice Initiative, Innocence Project and REFORM, organizers said.

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