The NYPD sergeant who shot a man in the chin who he claimed was going to rob him – and then placed a knife to incriminate the victim – pleaded guilty to evidence tampering.
Ritchard Blake, 40, stood in front of Judge Chun at the Kings County Supreme Court where he face two counts of tampering with physical evidence.
Blake, who pleaded not guilty in 2018, originally faced up to four years in prison and recently prosecutors suggested up to three years in prison.
NBC 4 reports that the judge decided he would not enforce jail time and instead Blake would be eligible for five years on probation.
Blake will not face any charges related to the actual shooting.
Thavone Santana (pictured), 21, was shot in the chin by former NYPD police officer Ritchard Blake, 40, in August 2018 after a verbal altercation
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said the defendant’s guilty plea will hold Blake accountable for his felony offense.
Gonzalez said: ‘With today’s guilty plea to a felony offense, this defendant is being held accountable for his troubling behavior. He admitted to tampering with evidence in a failed attempt to frame another person and is no longer a member of the NYPD.’
Although the District Attorney’s office pushed for a prison sentence, they accept the judge’s ruling.
Abe George, Blake’s attorney, maintains that the victim, 21-year-old Thavone Santana, was armed during the violent incident and his client acted in self defense.
George said: ‘Today former NYPD Sgt. Ritchard Blake took responsibility for his actions on August 2, 2018.’
‘However what should not be forgotten is that this incident would not have occurred had the alleged victim, who was a convicted violent felony offender released just months before this incident, had not threatened my client’s life with a weapon.’
‘Ultimately,’ George said, ‘the grand jury found that Sgt. Blake acted in self-defense when he was forced to shoot the alleged victim to defend his own life.’
In August 2018, surveillance footage captured the moment of the catastrophic exchange between the former NYPD officer and Santana.
Blake (left) alleges that Santana (right) pretended to have a weapon and that he acted in self defense when Santana attempted to rob him
Blake, who was off-duty and in plainclothes, can be seen arguing with Santana for around 20 seconds before the he draws his gun.
Investigators initially believed the altercation stemmed from a disagreement over Blake’s girlfriend, but it was allegedly over a borrowed phone charger.
The New York Post reports that in Santana’s civil suit against Blake and the City of New York, Blake’s girlfriend allegedly borrowed Santana’s phone charger.
Santana (right) said in a civil lawsuit that Blake (right) shot him after he was confronted about a borrowed phone charger
After shooting Santana (pictured) in the chin, video surveillance caught Blake (pictured) planting a knife next to Santana’s torso in an attempt to tamper evidence
Santana was on the way to buy a new charger on Livonia Avenue when he encountered Blake, who then told him to stay away from his girlfriend and shot him.
He shot at Santana twice, hitting the man in the chin and resulting in him having to wire his jaw shut.
After the initial altercation, Blake was caught on camera coming back to the scene of the crime and placing a shiny object next to Santana’s torso.
Blake later came back and retrieved the item.
In Blake’s story of events, he was on his way to work when Santana approached him and said, ‘You’re gonna die tonight.’
Ritchard pleaded guilty to two counts of evidence tampering, but will not receive any charges relation to shooting Santana (pictured)
Blake asserts that Santana pretended to have a weapon and was threatening to rob him.
Blake allegedly told Santana ‘don’t rob me’, offering his cell phone to the younger man.
When authorities searched Santana, they found no weapon in his pocket or on his person.
They did find a razor blade nearby, but there does not appear to be a connection.
In response to evidence found during the investigation, the NYPD placed Blake on administrative duty.
NYPD Chief Terrence Monahan said: ‘There are certain things that we saw during this investigation that we have questions that are unanswered at this point. Until we answer them, we felt it was best to place him on modified duty.’
He was eventually fired from the force after the video surfaced.