The fired New York cop accused of shooting his love rival in the face has been indicted for planting a knife on his victim, according to sources.
Sgt. Ritchard Blake, 40, was fired after disturbing video showed the moment 21-year-old Thavone Santana was shot in the mouth in an alleged dispute over a woman.
Blake – who was off-duty at the time of the shooting – now faces charges of attempting to cover up a crime scene after turning himself in to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office on Friday, ABC News reports.
He has been indicted for tampering with evidence after allegedly planting a knife at the scene of a shooting before retrieving, according to surveillance video.
District Attorney Gonzalez said: ‘The entirety of the evidence in this case was presented to a grand jury, which considered all of the defendant’s actions and returned an indictment charging him with tampering with evidence.
‘This is a shocking offense, especially given the defendant’s obligations as a police officer, and we intend to hold him accountable for his alleged conduct.’
Commissioner O’Neill said: ‘By swiftly moving to terminate former Sergeant Ritchard Blake in August of 2018, the department sends a clear and unambiguous message that criminal conduct will not be tolerated within the ranks of the NYPD.’
The video surveillance shows Santana – who had his left hand in his pocket throughout – walking towards the defendant who fires one shot, striking Santana in the mouth
The incident was caught on surveillance cameras outside the home of Blake’s girlfriend Debbie Lima, 33, where the cop, left, is seen arguing with Santana, right, and pulls out a gun
The defendant was then captured on video surveillance searching Santana’s left shorts pocket, according to the District Attorney’s office
No weapon was found in Santana’s pocket, but police later recovered a razor blade on the ground next to him, according to the investigation
The August 2 shooting was filmed on surveillance cameras outside the home of Blake’s girlfriend 33-year-old Debbie Lima, with whom he has a 10-year-old son with.
Blake is not charged in the shooting itself but instead is accused of planting a knife on the victim, whose jaw has been wired shut since the incident.
‘All the evidence was presented to the grand jury and they found that the shooting was justified’, a law enforcement source said.
NYPD fired Blake after protesters, including Santana’s mother Arrie Spencer, marched in New York to demand justice and that the sergeant be dismissed.
In the shooting video a man identified as Blake is seen arguing with Santana, from Brooklyn, just under the Livonia Avenue station in East New York around 5am.
Blake appears to pull an object from his side and moments later Santana is on the ground.
The Attorney General’s office said in a statement: ‘The defendant is captured on video surveillance removing a knife from his own back pants pocket and dropping it on the ground next to Santana.
‘Within seconds, after looking up at a surveillance camera, the defendant picked the knife back up and put it back into the same back pants pocket.’
Santana suffered a bullet to the jaw and sources said that the two men knew each other and may have both been romantically involved with Lima.
Neighbors said that just before shots fired Blake, Santana, and Lima were fighting and screaming. Santana at one point allegedly told Blake: ‘Control your b****!’
Blake at first claimed that Santana tried to rob him, but police later clarified that it was not a robbery case.
Santana, pictured, was shot in the jaw but survived the blow. Santana’s family and friends marched to protest the violence and to demand Blake be fired from the NYPD and jailed
After the incident Blake, who served in the 109th precinct in Queens, was stripped of his gun and badge and placed on administrative duty.
Blake also had a sealed arrest in 2016 relating to an assault on a woman.
A lawsuit filed against him said: ‘Sgt. Blake has a prominent and long history of violence, assaults and was the subject of Internal Affairs investigations of his actions in 2010, 2011 and 2016 and was disciplined for his violations of NYPD Policies.’
The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on April 17, 2019. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
His attorney Abe George said Blake shot Santana ‘in self-defense’.