The off-duty New York Police Department sergeant who shot a Brooklyn man earlier this month during a reported dispute over a woman has been fired, a police source confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
Sgt. Ritchard Blake’s firing, which was first reported by the New York Post, comes amid a joint investigation by the NYPD and Brooklyn district attorney’s office into whether to bring criminal charges against the officer.
Attempts to reach Blake at home by phone on Saturday were unsuccessful, and the sergeants union did not respond to a request for comment.
Surveillance video of the Aug. 2 shooting showed Blake encountered 21-year-old Thavone Santana on a sidewalk in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. The video, first published by NBC New York, shows Blake appearing to place a knife on the ground next to Santana after the officer shoots him. Moments later, Blake picks the knife up.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill was asked during an interview with a local television program if he believed that Blake was attempting to plant evidence on Santana. “That’s what it looks like,” O’Neill said. “But there’s an investigation that needs to be done to determine that.”
“It’s extremely disturbing,” O’Neill added.
Santana survived the shooting. His family had called for Blake to be fired.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News reported that Blake was found guilty in 2011 of departmental charges that he “engaged in a physical altercation” and lost 15 vacation days, according to secret NYPD disciplinary files. The records don’t reveal anything additional about the incident and the NYPD did not provide more detail.
Earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported, based on NYPD disciplinary records, that Blake was also suspended for 36 days and was placed on probation in September 2017 after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife 11 months earlier. At the time of the shooting, Blake would have still been on probation.