Shooting of Ramarley Graham
|Date||February 2, 2012|
|Time||3:00 PM (UTC-05:00)|
|Location||The Bronx, New York City|
|Type||Police shooting of suspect|
|Deaths||1 (Ramarley Graham)|
|Litigation||$3.9 million lawsuit settled against city of New York|
The shooting of Ramarley Graham took place in the borough of the Bronx in New York City on February 2, 2012. Richard Haste, a New York Police Department officer, shot Graham in the bathroom of Graham's apartment. The officer Michael Best had been informed that Graham had a gun and believed that Graham had been reaching for a gun in his waistband after disregarding police orders and shouting expletives at police. Haste was charged with manslaughter, but the charge was dropped. Graham's family filed a lawsuit against the city of New York, and the lawsuit was settled for $3.9 million in 2015. The NYPD Firearms Discharge Review Board found the shooting to be within department guidelines. In 2016, under pressure from mayor Bill de Blasio and prior to Bratton's resignation, Haste was offered to vest out with all benefits, in spite of having been cleared of all criminal charges and found within guidelines. Haste opted to go to department trial. In 2017, an internal NYPD investigation explored whether Haste used "poor tactics" leading up to the shooting. Haste ultimately resigned from the NYPD rather than allow himself to be terminated.
Ramarley Graham was an 18-year-old Jamaican teenager from the Bronx. Richard Haste was a police officer serving on the NYPD's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit (SNEU). Haste had six prior Civilian Complaint Review Board complaints, although none were substantiated.
Graham was spotted by officers from the NYPD's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit as he left a bodega on White Plains Road and East 228th Street on Thursday, February 2, 2012, at approximately 3:00 PM. The officers alleged that they witnessed Graham adjusting and tugging a gun at his waistband. The officers then began to follow Graham as he left the bodega and went into an apartment building, reporting over their radio that they saw the "butt of a gun" on the teen. No gun was recovered. The officers claimed that they approached Graham when he left the building, identifying themselves as police officers and telling him not to move. Then, the officers stated in their official report, Graham started to run from them toward his home. However, video evidence showed Graham casually walking into his home while officers followed in pursuit.
After officers tried unsuccessfully to kick down the front door of the apartment building, two officers went to the back of the building, where they were let in by a first-floor tenant. Rather than waiting for backup to arrive, the officers went to the door of Graham's apartment, where they were let in by his grandmother. According to the NYPD, Graham and the officers spotted each other and Graham ran into a bathroom, where he allegedly tried to flush a small bag of marijuana down the toilet. Officer Haste stated that he then yelled, "Show me your hands" and "Gun! Gun!"—alleging that he mistakenly thought he saw a gun—before shooting Graham once in the upper chest. Graham was pronounced dead a short time later at nearby Montefiore Medical Center. There was no confrontation or struggle between Graham and Officer Haste, and no weapon was ever recovered from the scene.
Officer Haste was immediately placed on modified duty. He was charged with manslaughter four months later, in June 2012, and pleaded not guilty. Bronx County Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett later vacated Haste's manslaughter indictment, ruling the prosecution had given the grand jury flawed instructions. He dismissed the indictment without prejudice and gave the district attorney the option to seek an indictment from another grand jury at a later date. The Bronx County District Attorney’s office presented evidence before another grand jury in 2013, but the grand jury declined to re-indict Haste on charges of manslaughter.
The NYPD performed an internal disciplinary review of the incident, which found that Haste used "poor tactical judgment and recommended his dismissal." Haste was informed of the decision on March 24, 2017, and upon learning that he was to be terminated, submitted his resignation two days later.
The lawsuit by Graham's family alleging civil rights violations by the NYPD was settled for $3.9 million in January 2015. Of that total, $2.95 million was given to Graham's estate, while Graham's brother received $500,000, his grandmother received $400,000, and his mother received $40,000.
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- City to pay $3.9 million in 2012 NYPD shooting of Bronx teen Ramarley Graham, CBS News, January 30, 2015.
- New York City settles with family of slain black teen, Reuters, January 31, 2015.