Manslaughter indictment dropped in Ramarley Graham case

The parents of Ramarley Graham, Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham, weep during the arraignment last June.
The parents of Ramarley Graham, Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham, weep during the arraignment last June.

Due to what defense attorneys and the judge characterized as a grammatical misstep by an assistant district attorney to a grand jury, the indictment against NYPD Officer Richard Haste, charged with the shooting death of Bronx teen Ramarley Graham, has been thrown out.

Haste was arraigned last year on manslaughter charges for fatally shooting the 18-year-old. Haste and other officers said they believed Graham had a gun in his waistband when they followed him home and into his apartment.

“It cannot be said more forcefully that we disagree with the court,” the statement read. “As we await the court’s written decision, we will begin the process of weighing which of the options—appeal of the decision or representation to the grand jury—better serve the people of the Bronx.”

Graham was reportedly flushing a small amount of marijuana down the toilet when cops burst in on him and shot him.

The NYPD at the time said that Haste was inadequately trained for the undercover street narcotics assignment he had just been posted to a few months prior.

Graham’s parents and community members gathered outside the Bronx Hall of Justice today to protest the decision.

In a statement, Graham’s father Frank said, “We will keep fighting no matter what. We will never stop until justice is service in this case, until Richard Haste goes to prison for murdering our son.”

The elder Graham noted the options of going back to the grand jury for a second try or taking the case to federal court.

The memo from the DA’s office decrying judge’s decision says that the crux of the issue is a claim of a semantical error — which they say cannot even legitimately be called an error.

The ADA reportedly advised the grand jury not to let their determination of Haste’s guilt — or lack thereof — rest on the “reasonableness” of the claims of the officers who told him they believed Graham had a gun, but rather on the “reasonableness” of Haste’s “conduct,” his decision to shoot Graham. Essentially, even if it seemed reasonable to believe that Graham had a gun, was shooting him in that moment — confronted at close range after bursting into his bathroom — reasonable in itself?

The memo from DA Robert Johnson noted that the ADA’s advice was actually not solely to the benefit of the prosecution.

“The danger existed that, had the Grand Jury found that the officers who made the erroneous communications to be incredible, there would be an adverse spillover effect on the defendant because he relied on misinformation, and that the Grand Jury might find him to be unjustified on this basis alone,” the memo read.

“It would indeed be ironic if an instruction designed to alleviate any prejudice to defendant arising from the testimony before the Grand Jury was read incorrectly to mean the opposite,” Johnson concluded.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.