New York Daily News

May 15, 2013


 

Mother of Bronx teen shot dead by police hospitalized after judge tosses indictment of NYPD cop

Constance Malcolm, mother of slain 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, cried out 'They killed my child' once it was clear that the case was being dismissed. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett threw out the manslaughter charges against Officer Richard Haste on Wednesday.

By Barry Paddock AND Stephen Rex Brown
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

New York City Police Dept. Officer Richard Haste says he identified himself as a cop and fired at Graham point-blank after mistakenly believing he saw a gun. /></td>
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RICHARD DREW/AP

New York City Police Dept. Officer Richard Haste says he identified himself as a cop and fired at Graham point-blank after mistakenly believing he saw a gun.

The mother of an unarmed teenager shot dead by police in his own home had to be hospitalized Wednesday after a Bronx judge threw out the case against the officer who pulled the trigger.

Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett tossed the manslaughter charges against Officer Richard Haste in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham because the assistant district attorney made a mistake before the grand jury.

“They killed my child!” Constance Malcolm cried out as it became clear that the case against the police officer was being dismissed. Court officers hauled her out of the room. She was taken to a nearby hospital and released hours later.

There is widespread anger over the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.ANTHONY DELMUNDO/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

There is widespread anger over the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.

Haste, 31, has claimed cops told him over the radio on Feb. 2, 2012, that Graham might have a gun.

The judge said the prosecution’s instructions to the grand jury gave the mistaken impression it shouldn’t consider how Haste’s fellow officers influenced his decision to fire his gun.

‘We are going to keep fighting no matter what,’ Graham’s family says.ENID ALVAREZ/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

‘We are going to keep fighting no matter what,’ Graham’s family says.

“In effect, the grand jury was told communications of other officers were not relevant,” the judge said. “With not great pleasure, I’m obliged in this case to dismiss the charges.”

People in the audience shouted “Murderer!” as Haste left the courtroom.

Graham’s family said the ruling was a setback but not a defeat.

‘If we start over, we will start stronger!’ the teen’s family says.MICHAEL SCHWARTZ FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

‘If we start over, we will start stronger!’ the teen’s family says.

“Everyone is just shocked and really hurt by the decision,” Graham’s father, Frank Graham, said. “We’ll keep fighting.”

But the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said the ruling signaled Haste should not be charged.

‘This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice and an insult to the family and supporters of Ramarley Graham,’ says the Rev. Al Sharpton.RICHARD HARBUS/RICHARD HARBUS FOR NEWSX

‘This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice and an insult to the family and supporters of Ramarley Graham,’ says the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“We firmly believe that given the proper instructions in this case, this officer would not have been indicted in the first place,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said.

The tragic chain of events began when police pursued Ramarley Graham into his family’s Williamsbridge apartment as part of a drug deal investigation.

‘No police officer ever wants to draw their weapon and have to make a life and death decision in a split second,’ the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says.

RICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

‘No police officer ever wants to draw their weapon and have to make a life and death decision in a split second,’ the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association says.

Once inside, Haste identified himself as a cop and fired at Graham point-blank in the bathroom 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. No weapon was found.

The ruling Wednesday reignited the widespread anger over the incident. “This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice and an insult to the family and supporters of Ramarley Graham,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. 

Bronx DA Robert Johnson insisted that the instructions to the grand jury did not necessitate throwing out the indictment. “It cannot be said more forcefully that we disagree with the court,” Johnson said in a statement.

With News Wire Services

bpaddock@nydailynews.com