Four-year NYPD veteran Richard Haste is being indicted on manslaughter charges after fatally shooting an unarmed teenager in the boy’s Bronx home. Haste is expected to turn himself in to the Bronx district attorney’s office tomorrow following the grand jury’s decision, the Daily News reports.
In early February, Haste followed the victim, Ramarley Graham, into his home on a drug pursuit. The officer alleged he thought Graham had a gun, though the teen was found to be unarmed with only a bag of marijuana near his deceased body. Officers claimed they told 18-year-old Graham to stop before he ran into his home and apparently attempted to flush the drugs. Once inside the home, Haste shot the teen at point-blank range in front of Graham’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother. Surveillance footage revealed Graham in fact walked into his home while the officers attempted to kick down the door, says the Daily News.
Graham’s grandmother, Patricia Hartley, said the police never identified themselves to her grandson. Some are blaming this violent act on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program; after the shooting street protests broke out in the teen’s neighborhood.
Also following the shooting, it was revealed Haste had never received training as part of a street narcotics enforcement team. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has since ordered that all cops must undergo the necessary training before partaking in a street narcotics unit.
Reverend Al Sharpton has reportedly stood by Graham’s family during this tragedy. He issued a statement calling for justice to be “fairly and impartially administered.” Graham’s lawyer told the Daily News the whole family intends to be at Haste’s arraignment, calling this a clear-cut case of excessive violence.
Haste was placed on desk duty in the shooting’s aftermath, and will now be suspended without pay.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch issued a press release, standing by Haste, following the indictment. “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,” said Lynch. “We believe that this officer will be exonerated at trial.”
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