NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A grand jury decided Wednesday not to re-indict an NYPD officer who fatally shot a teenager in the Bronx last year.
Haste was originally indicted on manslaughter charges last June, but a judge dropped the case in May, citing a mistake prosecutors made in presenting the charges.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson released a statement expressing shock over the second grand jury’s decision.
“We are surprised and shocked by the grand jury’s finding of no criminal liability in the death of Ramarley Graham,” Johnson said. “We are saddened for the family of the deceased young man and still believe that the court’s dismissal of the original indictment was overly cautious.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said the grand jury came to the right decision.
“When the second grand jury was presented with all of the evidence and were issued the proper instructions in deciding the case, they courageously came to the right and proper decision,” Lynch stated. “This grand jury recognized that police officer Haste was pursuing what he had every reason to believe was a man with a gun. He was facing the same imminent danger that all police officers face as we fight to rid our neighborhoods of dangerous, illegal guns.”
As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, the grief and outrage felt by Graham’s parents was intensified by the fact that the initial indictment against the officer was tossed.
Graham’s family held a press conference Thursday denouncing the second grand jury’s decision.
“Even though you’re standing in front of me, it’s like I’m in a dark place because everything just seems dark to me. My son is gone, my son is gone,” Ramarley’s father, Frank Graham, said.
“Why is my child dead and I still can’t get an answer,” said the teen’s mother, Constance Malcolm.
The family’s attorney, Royce Russell, expressed disbelief.
“This on and off again justice that we see in this county, it is unreal,” Russell said.
The family has called for a federal investigation into the shooting.
The Department of Justice will review the evidence in the case, CBS 2 reported.
Graham was shot and killed in the bathroom of his home after police said narcotics officers spotted him on the street adjusting his waistband and thought he had a gun.
When the officers approached, authorities said Graham took off running toward his home. Surveillance cameras captured Haste, who was undercover as part of the NYPD Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit, running after Graham.
Police said officers confronted Graham in his bathroom as he tried to flush marijuana down the toilet. Moments later, Graham was shot in the chest, collapsed and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police said they believed the teen was armed with a gun, but a gun was never recovered. Graham’s family said the teen’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother were inside the house at the time of the shooting.
Haste’s lawyer has said his client yelled “show me your hands” and “police” and reiterated that other officers had radioed that Graham was armed.
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