The NYPD officer responsible for fatally shooting 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in February 2012 has resigned after being found guilty of failing to follow department protocols.
Former officer Richard Haste was brought up on departmental charges for demonstrating “poor tactical judgment leading up to the discharge of his firearm” and failing to take obvious steps to diffuse the encounter with Graham, NBC New York reported. The department trial wrapped in January, but the trial commissioner found Haste guilty on all charges Friday, March 24, and suggested he be fired. The court’s findings and recommendations were backed by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
A high-ranking NYPD official confirmed that Haste quit Sunday, March 26. His lawyer, Stuart London, argued that his client shouldn’t have been forced to resign.
During his trial, the former officer testified that while investigating a drug case in the area, he chased Graham into his Bronx apartment on suspicion the teen had a firearm. Upon breaking down the door to Graham’s home, Haste said saw the young man sidestep into the bathroom where he peeped in to face him.
The officer testified he yelled at Graham to, “Show me your hands!” but the teen reached deep into his pockets as if he were going to pull out a gun. That’s when Haste fired at the young man, killing him.
“I thought I was about to be shot,” he said. “I expected to be dead.”
No weapon was ever found on Graham.
After learning that Haste was allowed to resign ahead of his termination, Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, blasted Mayor Bill De Blasio and the city’s police commissioner, saying, “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
“Mayor de Blasio has once again shown his unwillingness to hold police accountable to our communities with his administration giving deference to Richard Haste in allowing him to resign,” Malcolm said in a statement.
“This is not accountability after de Blasio and the NYPD dragged their feet for years, especially while all the other officers involved in the killing of my son continue to be employed by the department, enjoying pay raises every year,” she added.
In a statement, de Blasio said the department trial recommending Haste’s firing on Friday ultimately ended with “the right decision.”
“Ramarley Graham was a son, a friend and, most importantly, a young man with his whole life left to live,” de Blasio said. “Nothing can take away the profound pain left after his loss, but I hope the conclusion of this difficult process brings some measure of justice to those who loved him.”
The mayor’s words fell short of appeasing Malcolm, who has since called for the firing of all officers involved in her son’s death. She’s even threatened to campaign against de Blasio in the upcoming elections, the New York Daily News reported.
“Election time is coming, and I’ll be one of the people campaigning to make sure he doesn’t win,” Malcolm said.
A Bronx grand jury originally indicted Haste in Graham’s death in June 2012, but a judge threw out the indictment on a technicality. A second grand jury declined to indict the officer and federal prosecutors failed to bring charges.
In February 2015, Graham’s family settled a wrongful death suit against the city for $3.9 million.