Ramarley Graham indictment tossed
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 6/13/2013, 1:28 p.m.
"They killed my child. What more could you take from me?" screamed Constance Malcolm, grandmother of the late Ramarley Graham, 18, in in court this week. Graham joined the list of unarmed Black men fatally shot by the NYPD. His grandmother's outrage was in reaction to a judge's decision to toss out the indictment of the police officer who fatally shot her grandson.
In court on Wednesday, Judge Steven Barrett ruled that the grand jury, who indicted NYPD Officer Richard Haste, was misled by the district attorney's office. Haste was charged with manslaughter after he and another officer chased Graham into his home. Haste said he thought Graham had a weapon and shot Graham. No weapon was ever recovered.
Surveillance video shows Haste chasing Graham into his grandmother's house in the Bronx in February 2012. Haste caught up with Graham in a bathroom inside the home where the fatal shot was fired. Officers said Graham had marijuana and was trying to flush it down the toilet. They also claimed he was adjusting his waistband on the street, leading them to believe he had a gun.
Barrett said that the law required him to throw out the indictment, stating, "I regret that there are people who are hurt by this."
In a statement, the Bronx district attorney's office said they strongly disagreed with the ruling.
"As we await the court's written decision, we will begin the process of weighing which of the options--an appeal of the decision or representation to the grand jury--better serve the people of the Bronx," the statement said.
Community members and Graham's family gathered at the Bronx Hall of Justice to condemn the judge's decision to dismiss the indictment. In the courtroom after the ruling, protesters yelled, "Murderer."
"If it means going back to the grand jury or if we have to ask the federal court to deal with this case, we are going to keep fighting no matter what," said Frank Graham, father of Ramarley Graham. "Wherever it leads us, we will go there. We will never stop until justice is served in this case, until Richard Haste goes to prison for murdering our son. If we start over, we will start stronger!"
Malcolm said that she was prepared to fight the ruling.
"I am angry and cannot express my feelings alone," she said. "I am ready to take it to the streets and the highest of the highest. Please be prepared for a major protest."
Last week, Malcolm, along with several other family members of those who have died at the hands of the NYPD, held a protest rally at police headquarters.
"My son, Ramarley Graham, was murdered by Officer Richard Haste from the 42nd Precinct. When you are a police officer with a badge, you have rules to follow. When you don't follow them, at that time you are not a police officer. You are a criminal," said Malcolm.