HARLEM — The family of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed teenager shot to death by a cop in his Bronx home last year, want the Bronx District Attorney to present the case to a new grand jury after a judge dismissed the manslaughter indictment against the officer last month.
The family and their supporters are hosting a rally Thursday in front of Bronx D.A. Robert Johnson's office to demand that the case be sent to a new grand jury immediately.
"It's the family's desire to put this case right back in the grand jury and have it re-presented right away," said Graham family attorney Jeffrey Emdin. "If they were able to get an indictment the first time they can get one a second time."
Supreme Court Justice Steven L. Barrett dismissed the case against Officer Richard Haste because he said the Bronx District Attorney's office erred in telling the grand jury that they did not have to consider communications Haste received from fellow officers before they indicted him for manslaughter.
On Feb. 2, 2012, officers from a special narcotics unit chased Graham, 18, from White Plains Road and East 228th Street to his home at 749 E. 229th St. in Wakefield because cops investigating a drug deal believed Graham had a gun in his waistband.
Officers pursued Graham into his home and Haste fatally shot the teen in the bathroom.
Lawyers for Haste have said that he acted the way he did during the fatal incident because of multiple communications from fellow officers that Graham had a gun. No weapon was found.
"Inadvertently, the district attorney's instructions did mislead the jury," Barrett said, calling the jury instructions "blatantly wrong."
Barrett said his ruling did not mean there was "insufficient evidence" in the case.
Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx D.A., said that the office was considering two options: presenting the case to a new grand jury or appealing the ruling.
"Other than that, we cannot comment publicly on the progress of the case. We are in contact with the family of the deceased, who are being kept apprised of the steps we will take," said Reed.
Emdin said the dismissal doesn't change basic facts about the case.
"Shots should not have been fired regardless of what he heard on the radio because he shouldn't have been in the apartment," said Emdin. "Why would an unarmed man be reaching for anything?"
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch has said he expects the case to once again go before another grand jury.
"We will not rest until Richard Haste goes to jail," wrote Graham's parents Franclot Graham and Constance Malcolm in an e-mail to supporters last month.