Cop Threatened to Shoot Ramarley Graham's Grandmother, Suit Says
EDENWALD — The NYPD cop accused of gunning down Ramarley Graham also threatened to shoot the slain teen's sobbing grandmother in the chaotic moments after cops burst into their Bronx apartment, a new lawsuit charges.
The blistering 108-page lawsuit filed by Graham's family details how plainclothes officers in street narcotics unit barged into their apartment, fired at the teen and hauled his grandmother away for hours of grueling questioning and intimidation.
Graham's family filed the lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court on Friday, on the eve of the anniversary of his death. They accused the NYPD of improperly training officers, unfairly targeting minorities in stop-and-frisks and trying to cover up the shooting of the 18-year-old.
Officer Richard Haste shot Graham in the chest on Feb. 2, 2012, after following the teen into his apartment bathroom. Graham's grandmother, Patricia Hartley, who was several feet away from Graham at the time, immediately cried out, "Why did you shoot him, why you killed him?" the lawsuit says.
Haste then pushed Hartley into a vase and said, "Get the f--- away before I have to shoot you, too," according to the lawsuit.
Hartley, who was 58 and weighed 85 pounds at the time, was then allegedly forced into a seat and had her arm twisted behind her back after she tried to make a phone call.
Cops eventually took Hartley to the 47th Precinct station house, where investigators called her a "f---ing liar" and claimed she was covering for the dead teen, whom cops believed had thrown a gun out a window, the lawsuit says. No gun was ever recovered, and a small bag of marijuana was found in the toilet.
Officers also allegedly dipped their hands into her coffee, then flicked their fingers against a wall to show how blood splatters. They also showed her a picture of a shot man they claimed was Graham, according to the lawsuit.
Hartley was allegedly locked in a station house room for nearly seven hours, and cops ignored her and her daughter's request to leave, the suit says. Hartley's lawyer says he was also denied access to her for more than 90 minutes. When Hartley was eventually released, she was treated at a hospital for trauma.
Haste was indicted on a manslaughter charge in June, but he and the officers who were in the apartment have said that they earlier spotted Graham carrying what appeared to be a gun in his waistband while leaving a neighborhood bodega. They said they chased after the teen when he took off.
According to the NYPD's account, Graham attempted to flush a small amount of marijuana down a toilet before Haste fired. Haste's lawyer, Stuart London, has claimed Graham did not follow his client's orders.
The lawsuit claims Graham's mother, Connie Malcolm, and the rest of the family were denied access to their apartment for 48 hours while cops searched for a gun.
After the shooting, the NYPD initially claimed Haste and Graham had struggled with one another and the cop's 9 mm handgun discharged. The lawsuit claims the account was false and "made with the intent to conspire to cover-up the true facts of the incident."
News outlets also reported that Graham had eight prior arrests. The lawsuit claims many of these arrests were sealed and should not have been released to the media.
"[The NYPD statements] were made with the intent to sway public opinion and sympathy against Ramarley Graham and his family and in favor of the police," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit does not specify a damage amount the family seeks. It claims that Graham was unduly targeted for being black and that the NYPD has not done enough to train cops in the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
The NYPD, Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Haste and other officers are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The NYPD and the city Law Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.