New York Post
May 8, 2013


Cop's rap in Ramarley Graham slay could be tossed over grand-jury glitch

By DOUGLAS MONTERO and CYNTHIA R. FAGEN

A Bronx judge may dismiss the manslaughter charges against an NYPD officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen last year.

Judge Steven Barrett said in Bronx Criminal Court yesterday that he reviewed grand-jury minutes and was concerned about a prosecutor’s instructions that the panel should ignore whether the defendant, Officer Richard Haste, thought 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was armed.

Both sides must submit arguments by May 15. If the judge decides to throw the case out, the prosecutor’s office may resubmit the charges.

Haste testified in his own defense in front of the grand jury.

The February 2012 shooting of Graham, who is black, by Haste, who is white, sparked accusations of racial bias and overaggressive policing, and prompted comparisons to the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

A surveillance tape captured Haste and other members of his undercover narcotics unit chasing Graham on foot into his Wakefield home. Haste then shot the teen in the chest in the bathroom in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother, as Graham flushed some marijuana down the toilet.

After yesterday morning’s pre-trial hearing, defense attorney Stuart London hailed the judge’s decision. “The fairness of the procedure has been compromised,” he said. “There may not have been an indictment if the charge had been read properly.”

Steven Reed, spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, said, “The legal papers which we will file in support of our argument that the indictment is sound will place the instructions to the grand jury in the proper context.”

Haste, 31, who is on modified duty, is currently out on $50,000 bond. If found guilty, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

Graham’s disappointed mother, Constance Malcolm, vowed, “We will continue to fight. We want justice.”

The teenager’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit that also accuses the NYPD of manhandling Graham’s grandmother and of verbally abusing her after the shooting.