NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A former police officer, accused of tampering with evidence after a shooting last summer, appeared in court Friday.
Former NYPD sergeant Ritchard Blake was indicted for tampering with the crime scene after shooting an unarmed man during an altercation in Brooklyn last August.
A grand jury already cleared the former police officer of all counts for the shooting, but Blake is now facing charges for allegedly planting a knife next to the victim before police arrived at the scene.
Surveillance cameras appeared to catch the officer pick the knife up once he realized he was on video.
Blake sat before a judge and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of tampering with evidence Friday.
The 40-year-old was off duty when he shot 21-year-old Thavone Santana in the chin in East New York.
At the time, Blake claimed he acted in self-defense and believed Santana was trying to rob him. Sources tell CBS2 the two men actually knew each other and had been previously fighting over a woman.
Surveillance video showed Santana had been following Blake with his hand in his pocket.
After the shooting Blake called 911, but sources tell CBS2 Blake is seen on surveillance video taking a knife out of his own pocket, placing it on the ground next to Santana.
Blake was fired from the NYPD, but exonerated for the shooting by a grand jury who determined the shooting was justified.
“When they hear my client’s side of the story at the jury trial I’m confident he’ll be exonerated of all charges,” defense attorney Abe George said.
Blake was released on his own recognizance after the judge ordered he have no contact with the victim.
He’s due back in court next month and, if found guilty, he could face up to four years in prison.