Updated 02/10/2012 11:02 PM
Pressure Mounts As Bronx DA Investigates Shooting Of Unarmed Man, Police Beating
Reverend Al Sharpton and the family of police shooting victim Ramarley Graham say they plan to rally outside the Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office Monday, but Johnson says he won't be pressured by the community or the police. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson knows he has some difficult choices ahead. Will he move forward with prosecuting several officers in the Bronx in the shooting death of Ramarley Graham and the beating of Jateik Reed?
"Others have the luxury of reacting through emotions or through a particular viewpoint. I don’t have that luxury. I have to be fair to everyone in all these cases,” says Johnson.
The district attorney says he will go step by step in the legal process and won't rush to judgments in either case. He says there will be thorough investigations.
In the case of the death of unarmed Ramarley Graham, who was shot by police in his own bathroom, there's a lot of evidence to examine.
"You look for forensics, whether or not the angle of the bullet, the distance of the bullet, if you can tell that, backs up one story or another. You want the stories of everybody who had any input at any stage of the proceeding,” says Johnson. "A major part of a case of this nature is what is the state of mind of the individual."
In the case of the beating of Jateik Reed, which was caught on video, Johnson says that although the teen is being charged with a crime himself, he still needs to come forward about what he claims police did to him.
"Although Mr. Reed and his lawyers have spoken to you, we have reached out to them and they have not yet come to us," says Johnson.
Johnson is currently the city's longest serving district attorney. He has been the Bronx D.A. since 1989, and he has seen his fair share of high profile cases involving police officers.
"I don't see these cases as political. I see them as very serious matters, and they require some very thought out attention," says Johnson.
He says complaints he is too connected to the police department to prosecute officers are baseless.
"In respect to the police department, we have a number of recent prosecutions, some people convicted, pending cases," says Johnson.
The district attorney says that even if the evidence in both the Graham and Reed cases supports a prosecution, to get a conviction the charges still have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.