A judge has dismissed the indictment against the NYPD officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen in his Bronx home last year. The dismissal was for a technicality, as the Bronx DA’s office erroneously instructed members of the grand jury that they did not have to consider if Officer Richard Haste’s colleagues informed him that 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was armed.
“With no great pleasure, I am obliged in this case to dismiss the charges,” Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett said as he made his decision, according to DNAinfo.
Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm had to be removed from the courtroom after the judge announced his decision. Video from NY1 shows Malcolm screaming, “He killed my child! What more can you do to me?”
A protest was immediately held outside the courthouse, and Frank Graham, father of Ramarley Graham, declared, “If it means going back to the grand jury or if we have to ask the federal court to deal with this case; we are going to keep fighting no matter what. Where ever it leads us we will go there. We will never stop until justice is served in this case, until Richard Haste goes to prison for murdering our son. If we start over, we will start stronger!”
“It cannot be said more forcefully that we disagree with the court,” a spokesman for the perpetually embattled Bronx DA’s office said in a statement, adding that they would decide whether to appeal the decision or to re-file against Haste.
Graham was killed in February of 2012, when officers allegedly observed him buying drugs and followed him home. Surveillance video shows Haste and other officers kicking down the door to Graham’s apartment complex to gain entry. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said that Haste found Graham in his bathroom, where he was dumping a small amount of marijuana into the toilet. Kelly said that Haste yelled “Show me your hands! Gun! Gun!” before fatally shooting Graham once.
Haste, who had been an NYPD officer for four years at the time of the shooting, pled not guilty to first and second degree manslaughter almost a year ago.
You can read a memorandum submitted by the Bronx DA’s office outlining why they disagree with the judge’s decision below. The judge has yet to release his written decision in the case.