Credit: Lem Peterkin photo

The scene outside of One Police Plaza Monday morning could be deemed surreal. A few dozen feet from the location of a news conference with Constance Malcolm, actors shot a television show scene that depicted cops and protesters holding up pictures of a Black girl.

But Malcolm was more concerned about her son, Ramarley Graham, who was shot and killed five years ago by New York Police Department officer Richard Haste in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. Graham, who was unarmed, was chased by police into his own home after being suspected of holding marijuana. Haste said that he thought Graham had a gun when he shot him in the bathroom. That proved to not be true.

Friday, Haste was found guilty in a disciplinary trial of botching department tactics during the fatal shooting. Administrative Judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended that he be fired, but Haste resigned from the force before he could be terminated. Malcolm didn’t find out about the resignation until Sunday.

“I’m standing here with a slap in the face,” said Malcolm. “Same disrespect over and over for five years. What other employer would allow this? What other employer would this man so much leeway … so much opportunity to profit from a young man’s death?

Haste was initially indicted in 2013, but because of the district attorney’s office giving the grand injury improper instruction, he didn’t go to trial.

Elected officials spoke out against the ruling as well.

“The fact the Richard Haste was allowed to leave on his own terms, resigning before termination, robbed Constance Malcolm of an important emotional and moral victory,” said City Councilman Jumanne Williams in a statement. “It also robbed supporters and advocates, who through each denial of justice, told her and her family to just hold on, ‘we will prevail.’ On a day that we all should be using to celebrate this step forward in accountability that has been lacking, somehow we still fell short. Not to mention the fact that Richard Haste should have been removed from the force years ago, denying him promotions received on Constance Malcolm’s taxes.”

New York City Council members Andy King and Inez Barron attended the news conference and denounced the NYPD and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We’re gonna continue to stand right this family,” said Barron. “We have not received justice. And, once again, the NYPD is indicating that no, they do not respect Black lives and that they think police officers have an advantage and their lives and their livelihood can outweigh what crimes they commit.”

King told reporters that there wasn’t a difference between Haste and James Jackson, the young white man from Baltimore who traveled to Manhattan specifically to kill Black men.

“We just recently had another crazy Caucasian who thought it was OK kill a Black person, and stab them in the back and think it’s OK,” said King. “This is no different because at the end of the day, no one’s been held accountable.”

Graham’s family attorney, Jeff Emdin, targeted the NYPD for attempting to alter public opinion of Graham five years ago after he was killed.

“Why did the police commissioner representative Paul Brown come out and initially say there was a struggle between [Ramarley] Graham and a police officer?” Emdin asked. “Why did he say that Ramarley Graham was running into his house when the tape shows otherwise? Why did they say an 8-year-old boy gave consent to enter the downstairs apartment when it was done at gunpoint? Why did they try to smear Ramarley Graham’s character by accessing computer records that were sealed?”

Emdin excoriated the NYPD for no changes in accountability and in police protocol.

Malcolm agreed. “Every step of the way, the mayor and NYPD have dragged their heels and have refused to hold officers accountable for murdering my son,” she said.

Malcolm continued, “He talks about bridging the gap with between communities and the police. Start by giving us accountability. This was the perfect case to show us that our young men and women matter when killed unjustly by police. Instead, he took the easier way out by letting this man resign.”

Justice Committee Co-Director Loyda Colon announced a list of the demands for Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD, including not letting Haste collect benefits. “We want to make sure Haste is not allowed to have a gun in the City of New York,” she said. She also demanded something from the mayor.

“The mother of Ramarley Graham is asking you to meet with her,” said Colon. “Stop ignoring her.” According to Colon, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill promised a meeting with Malcolm. She’s still waiting.

The mayor, after the Haste trial released a statement in which he said, “Nothing can take away the profound pain left after his loss, but I hope the conclusion of this difficult process brings some measure of justice to those who loved him.”

“If it’s up to me, he wouldn’t get another term in this city,” said Malcolm to reporters Monday. Earlier, she told de Blasio to not “…use my son as a political game in your campaign.” She added, “Don’t use my son’s name that’s way. That’s disrespectful.”

Tuesday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board released a portion of Haste’s complaint summary that showed six cases with 10 total alleged complaints in a one-year span. Malcolm issued a statement after the report’s release.

“Accountability and transparency shouldn’t be based on what’s convenient for Mayor de Blasio,” stated Malcolm. “It should be based on truth and justice without delays. So far, the de Blasio administration has failed to fulfill that obligation to my family, our communities and the public. The de Blasio administration should publicly release Richard Haste’s complete CCRB record [not just a summary of a few years] and the final NYPD report of findings against Richard Haste, since he is no longer an NYPD employee that can be shielded by 50-a protections.”