BRONX SUPREME CRIMINAL COURT— Standing outside the courthouse where a NYPD officer faced a hearing over manslaughter charges, the father of Ramarley Graham Tuesday compared the shooting death of his unarmed son in a Bronx home to the recent police shooting of Kimani Gray.
"We are fighting to have this type of police killing stop," said Franclot Graham, whose son was fatally shot by a police officer in February 2012, at a court hearing.
A Bronx Supreme Criminal Court judge said Tuesday he would rule May 7 on motions by defense lawyers for NYPD Officer Richard Haste to dismiss the grand jury indictment on two counts of manslaughter and to suppress a statement that Haste made while in police custody.
As about 75 protesters stood outside the courthouse chanting and holding signs, PBA President Pat Lynch said he looked forward to having the case decided based on "facts and not emotions on the street."
The grand jury minutes are voluminous and measure about the width of two telephone books, according to prosecutors who described the motions as routine.
Lynch said Haste was justified in the shooting of Graham because the officer, now on administrative leave, believed his life was in danger when he thought Graham had a weapon.
Police recovered no weapon.
"The officer's state of mind revealed he believed he was in serious physical danger," said Haste lawyer Stuart London.
Haste was present in court but did not speak to the media.
Franclot Graham said seeing Haste free breaks his heart.
"He's going home to his family and Ramarley is in Woodlawn," said Graham, referring to Woodlawn Cemetery.
Officers from a special narcotics unit chased Graham from White Plains Road and East 228th Street to his home at 749 E. 229th St. on Feb. 2, 2012, after cops investigating a drug deal believed that Graham had a gun in his waistband. Police stormed Ramarley Graham's home and Haste confronted him in the bathroom before shooting him once in the chest.
Franclot Graham said the pace of the trial was going slow. Graham family attorney Jeffrey Emdin said he expected a trial by the end of the summer.
"It's slow for the family who are anxious to see a fair trial and justice," Emdin said.
Franclot Graham and protesters said the incident is similar to the killing of Gray, 16, who was shot seven times by police on March 9 after allegedly pointing a gun at officers. The incident set off violent clashes with police during protests.
"The reason why we fight is to keep things from happening like what happened in Brooklyn to Kimani Gray," Graham told supporters outside the courthouse.
Debra Goodman, an activist who live in Manhattan, agreed.
"Black and Latino youth are targeted by the police," said Goodman. "Stuff like this never happens to white kids."
Kenneth Montgomery, lawyer for the Gray family, said the parallels between the Graham and Gray case are hard to ignore.
"The Ramarley Graham shooting is one of the most egregious police shootings of our time," Montgomery said.