Officer in Ramarley Graham Shooting Won’t Face U.S. Charges
A family’s four-year quest to hold a white New York City police officer criminally accountable for the fatal shooting an unarmed black teenager in the bathroom of his Bronx home ended on Tuesday, when federal prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.
The episode unfolded on the afternoon of Feb. 2, 2012, when officers in a narcotics unit spotted Mr. Graham, 18, on a street in the Wakefield section of the Bronx.
The officers were suspicious of the way Mr. Graham moved his hands and thought he might be armed, according to the statement.
When Mr. Graham walked away, the officers, from the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the 47th Precinct, followed him to his family’s home.
“As Mr. Graham opened the front door, an unmarked police vehicle quickly pulled up and stopped near the front of the house,” Mr. Bharara’s statement said. “As Officer Richard Haste and another officer exited the vehicle, Mr. Graham looked in the direction of the officers and then quickly stepped inside the house and closed the front door.”
Officer Haste ran up to the front door and found it locked.
“He then unsuccessfully attempted to kick the door open,” according to the statement.
The officers went to the back of the house and gained access. Officer Haste made his way to the second floor.
“The evidence establishes that Officer Haste advanced into the hallway of the apartment with his firearm drawn, where he encountered Mr. Graham,” Mr. Bharara said.
Officer Haste told investigators that he ordered Mr. Graham to show his hands. Instead, according to his account, the teenager moved into an adjacent bathroom.
“At this critical moment in time, no other witness present in the apartment, including Mr. Graham’s grandmother, had a view of Mr. Graham,” according to the statement. “Officer Haste stated that he believed that Mr. Graham was reaching for the weapon that had been described” in an earlier police radio transmission “and that he fired one round from his weapon in response to a perceived deadly threat.”
It turned out that Mr. Graham was not armed. A bag of marijuana was found in the toilet bowl, but no gun was found at the scene.
The city ultimately agreed to pay the family $3.9 million to settle a wrongful-death suit.
Mr. Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, who was surrounded by supporters as she stood in front of the United States attorney’s office, called the decision by the federal prosecutor “another slap in the face.”
In the justice system, Ms. Malcolm said, it “doesn’t seem like our kids’ life matters.”
“Time and time again, you see it over and over,” she continued, “this officer walks free, they get a pay raise, they get a promotion and nothing has been done to them. This is sending the wrong message. Even in your own home, you’re not even safe anymore.”
American criminal justice system works like this: you may be killed bacuase you had to hide the bag of marijuana and the killer won’t be sentenced because cops are free to kill. I find it outrageous that cop even entered the house of Graham. All this story is sad and all that happened is so wrong. Improvement of criminal justice system should be the number one issue for our society. People die for nothing.