March 8, 2016 | 3:28pm
By Lia Eustachewich
|Robert Kalfus; G.N. Miller|
|Officer Richard Haste (left) at a hearing in May, 2013 for the fatal shooting Ramarley Graham in 2012.|
A federal grand jury will not be convened to weigh criminal charges in the police-involved shooting death of Bronx teen Ramarley Graham, officials announced Tuesday in closing the 2012 case.
US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office had been investigating since 2014 whether Graham’s civil rights were violated – but concluded there was “insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution.”
“To prove a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statute, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids,” the office said in a statement.
“This is the highest standard of intent imposed by law, and is different from and higher than the intent standard under the relevant state statutes.”
Following a roughly 90-minute meeting with Bharara and other Department of Justice officials, Graham’s mother slammed the decision as “another slap in the face.”
“This is sending the wrong message. In your own home, you’re not even safe anymore,” Malcolm tearfully told reporters outside Bharara’s office in Lower Manhattan.
She was joined by more than a dozen supporters who toted signs listing the “eight facts” of Graham’s death and chanted “Justice for Ramarley Graham.”
In 2013, a Bronx grand jury refused to indict NYPD officer Richard Haste, who, along with other undercover narcotics cops chased Graham, 18, into his Wakefield home and shot him because he believed he was armed.
“Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation,” the US Attorney’s Office said.
Graham’s family settled its federal lawsuit against the city last year for $3.9 million.
“I was hoping this office would lead by example which is by [convening] a grand jury and let us have our day in court. That’s all we were asking for,” said Graham’s father Frank. “We just feel as if Ramarley’s life never matters.”
The father said the family will push to have all the officers involved in Graham’s death fired.
Asked about the specifics about Tuesday’s meeting with Bharara, family attorney Royce Russell said it boiled down to Haste’s word against all else.
“‘I thought he had. I thought he was going to. I thought I saw him do A, B and C – sell drugs, carry a gun, looked like he was going to hit me.’ It’s the same thought process that went on with this case that led to no grand jury presentation – ‘I thought he had a gun,’” Russell said.
“If it’s your word against a police officer’s word, please be quiet because your word is going to go unheard.”