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NYPD Officer Who Killed Ramarley Graham To Face Departmental Charges: Mayor

By Jeff Mays | March 10, 2016 6:37pm
 Ramarley Graham';s parents Constance Malcolm and Franclot Graham called for the officers involved in their son's shooting death to be fired.
Ramarley Graham';s parents Constance Malcolm and Franclot Graham called for the officers involved in their son's shooting death to be fired.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD's disciplinary process will "proceed expeditiously" against Officer Richard Haste for the 2012 shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham now that the Justice Department has finished its investigation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

De Blasio, speaking at an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn, was asked about calls from Graham's parents that all the officers involved in the incident be fired.

"There's due process involved. The charges related to the officer were activated immediately at the conclusion of the Justice Department's investigation. There will be now due process," said the mayor.

The remarks come after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told Graham's family on Tuesday that his office would not present federal civil rights charges to a grand jury. Bharara said there was "insufficient evidence" to prove that Haste violated Graham's rights.

Graham was killed on Feb. 2, 2012, after officers from a special narcotics unit followed him from White Plains Road and East 228th Street to his home at 749 E. 229th St. in Wakefield because they believed he had a gun in his waistband. 

Haste pursued Graham into his home, kicked in the front door to the teen's apartment, and fatally shot him in the bathroom. Haste claimed he thought Graham was pulling a weapon from his pants.

No weapon was found, but Haste said he thought Graham had a gun after receiving reports from his fellow officers and supervisors that he did.

Bharara's office said there were no witnesses who saw Graham in the bathroom and no "physical evidence that materially contradict Officer Haste’s statement that Mr. Graham appeared to be pulling something from his waistband at the time of the shooting."

Haste was indicted for manslaughter by a Bronx grand jury in 2012 but a judge dismissed the indictment because of improper jury instructions from the Bronx District Attorney's office. Haste testified before a second grand jury in August 2013 which declined to indict him.

Graham's mother Constance Malcolm said the NYPD has dragged its feet on the case for four years while Haste remained on the NYPD's payroll on administrative duty.

"They didn't give my son the benefit of the doubt," Malcolm said.

Malcolm said Police Commissioner William Bratton told her family and lawmakers that the Justice Department asked police not to proceed with the case until it finished its investigation. After speaking with Bharara, Malcolm said she learned that was not the case.

Bratton, speaking in The Bronx Thursday, acknowledged "that was not the case in this instance" and said that there was a "miscommunication," Politico New York reported.

Nevertheless, departmental charges would not have moved forward while federal authorities were investigating, Bratton added.

"I already indicated, we on our own would step back so we don’t step on a criminal investigation that they were conducting, a civil rights investigation. So, as far as trying to make an issue out of that, Sorry. No issue. Not subject to dispute," Bratton said.

Malcolm was not satisfied with the response and said that Haste shouldn't be the only officer to face charges.

"Haste pulled the trigger but the sergeant there and all the officers there were involved," Malcolm said. "What happened to my son shows people they are not even safe in their own home."