New York Daily News

June 11, 2012


 

Cop who shot unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham indicted

Officer Richard Haste expected to surrender to authorities Wednesday

By Rocco Parascandola, Kerry Burke and Bill Hutchinson
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

THE COP who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother in their Bronx home is expected to surrender Wednesday to face manslaughter charges.

Officer Richard Haste is to turn himself in at the Bronx district attorney's office after a grand jury indicted him in the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.

"We're anxious to see justice," said Jeffrey Emdmin, the lawyer for Graham's family, who were notified of the indictment Monday morning.

"The family has exercised great patience during a very frustrating and trying time," said Emdmin, flanked by Graham's father and mother, Franclot Graham and Constance Malcolm, in front of their home.

The parents both appeared distraught, and the teary-eyed father wore a T-shirt plastered with his son's face, but neither spoke Monday. Emdmin said the parents, who have pleaded for justice since burying their son more than four months ago, plan to speak publicly after they attend Haste's arraignment.

"The whole family will be at the arraignment," Emdmin said.

The Feb. 2 shooting prompted angry street protests in Graham's Wakefield neighborhood. Some critics blamed the incident on the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk program.
"It's not manslaughter, it's murder," said Cecil Bartley, 54, a neighbor of the Grahams. "He (Haste) went into that boy's house and killed him."

Once he surrenders, Haste will be arrested and arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court on first- and second-degree manslaughter charges, a source said.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, who brought the case to the grand jury in March, refused to comment. Haste's attorney Stuart London also declined to comment.

"While no one takes any pleasure in a life lost or a police officer being indicted, we always demand that the process of justice be fairly and impartially administered," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has stood by Graham's family during the ordeal.

"Ramarley Graham was a citizen of Bronx County and his death rightly deserves the opportunity for a jury to decide the guilt or innocence of his attacker," Sharpton said.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said Haste will have plenty of NYPD colleagues in the courtroom to support him.

"We believe that this officer will be exonerated at trial," Lynch said.

Haste and other members of the street narcotics enforcement unit followed Graham to his home from a drug-dealing hot spot after hearing on their radios the teen was observed with a gun in his waistband.

Police contend Graham ran to his house when officers told him to stop. But surveillance video shows him walking into his house, followed by plainclothes cops seen trying to kick down the front door.

Once inside, Haste insists, he identified himself as a cop and fired at Graham point-blank in the bathroom of his house after mistakenly believing he saw a gun, police officials said.

Cops found a bag of marijuana near Graham's body and suspected he was trying to flush it down the toilet. However, no weapon was found in the house.

Graham's grandmother, Patricia Hartley, 58, has said Haste and a team of cops burst into their E. 229th St. home without a warrant and killed her grandson in front of her and his little brother without identifying themselves.

In the aftermath of the shooting, The News revealed Haste, who joined the force in July 2008, had never received specialized training for the street narcotics enforcement unit.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued an internal order this month laying out guidelines for the unit's operations, emphasizing all cops must undergo special training before being assigned to the unit.

"We look forward to a complete review of the facts in this case which will demonstrate that this police officer believed that he was pursuing an armed felon who bolted rather than be caught with an illegal gun," Lynch said.

"Several members of the officer's team had confirmed the presence of a gun and that constituted a grave danger to the officers and the community.NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Haste, who was placed on desk duty in the wake of the shooting, will now be suspended without pay.

With Janon Fisher

rparascandola@nydailynews.com