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Bronx D.A. Vows to Return Ramarley Graham Case to Grand Jury By Mid-Summer

By Jeff Mays | June 5, 2013 4:00pm
 Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson told he mother of  Ramarley Graham , the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed in his home by police, that his office would convene a new grand jury in her son's case by mid-summer.
Ramarley Graham Grand Jury Protest
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THE BRONX — Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson told the mother of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed in his home by police, that his office would convene a new grand jury in her son's case by mid-summer.

Constance Malcolm led a rally outside of Johnson's office on E. 161st St. Wednesday afternoon calling for the case against NYPD Officer Richard Haste to be presented to a new grand jury.

After the protest, Malcolm and the Rev. Ruben Austria from the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable, presented dozens of petitions to Johnson. Malcolm said Johnson received the pair in his office and accepted the petitions.

"The people of New York are very anxious," Malcolm says she told Johnson, to which he replied that he was aware and gave her a possible date of mid-summer when the case would go before a new grand jury.

"We want our day in court," said Malcolm during the rally. "My son was murdered. He didn't have a gun and he didn't struggle with that officer."

Johnson's office confirmed the mid-summer date.

“The case involving the death of Ramarley Graham has been and remains to be a most important matter in the eyes of this office," said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx D.A. 

"We are hoping to be able to make our next public statement regarding the case by mid-summer. Until that time we will continue to communicate with Ramarley Graham’s family."

Malcolm was pleased by the news and hugged supporters outside Johnson's office when she returned downstairs.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Steven L. Barrett dismissed the manslaughter indictment against Haste after he ruled that the Bronx D.A. made an error when it instructed the grand jury that it did not have to consider the communications other officers gave Haste that Graham had a gun in considering the indictment.

Haste's attorneys have said that multiple communications from fellow officers that Graham had a gun helped determine his actions that day.

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.

Barrett said the flawed grand jury instructions were enough to "impair the integrity of the grand jury proceeding."

"My job is to follow the law and that's what I'm going to do," Barrett said in dismissing the indictment.

Barrett said the case had sufficient evidence and that the Bronx D.A. was free to present it to another grand jury. Johnson's office said they were deciding whether to appeal Barrett's ruling or to present the case to a new grand jury.

Malcolm said she and her family have waited over a year as the case wound its way through the court system and that an appeal would unnecessarily extend the time before a trial commenced.

"I just want to know a date. It's been a long process and we want our day in court," she said.

Graham family attorney Jeffrey Emdin said he has no doubt that Haste will once again be indicted by a Bronx grand jury.

"This matter should not be decided on a technicality. The facts remain unchanged. Ramarley Graham was unarmed," he said.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association could not be reached for comment.

Malcolm was flanked by dozens of supporters Wednesday, and family members who said their relatives were also the victims of alleged police misconduct.

Many criticized Johnson and said he has failed to properly prosecute police officers in situations where the public believe they acted wrongly.

Malcolm said her goal was to get justice for her son.

"We want Robert Johnson to know that the public is watching closely," said Malcolm.