Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NYPD Officer Indicted In Death Of Unarmed Bronx Teen

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A city police officer has been indicted on manslaughter charges in the shooting of a Bronx teen.

Police Officer Richard Haste is being charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Ramarley Graham, 18.

Graham was shot and killed in his apartment bathroom in the Wakefield section of the Bronx by police on February 2.

Police at the time said Haste and another officer pursued Graham following an alleged drug deal, thinking he had a gun.

It was later determined Graham was unarmed and was trying to flush marijuana down the toilet.

Haste and the officer's sergeant have been on modified duty.

Graham's parents, who are expected to speak after the officer is arraigned, let their lawyer, Jeffrey Emdin, speak for them on Monday.

"The family has exercised great patience during a very frustrating and trying time," said Emdin.

In a statement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said, in part, "Several members of the officer's team had confirmed the presence of a gun and that constituted a grave danger to the officers and the community. We believe that this officer will be exonerated at trial."

The fence outside Graham's home has become a shrine, bearing t-shirts and signs with slogans like "Justice," and locals said that the indictment is a much-need step of the investigation.

"It's good to know that they brought him to trial, at least, because he did go into his home and kill him," said a neighbor.

"We got kids on the block. So, you know, they beat up a kid there, they beat up a kid up the block," said another.

"So many black youths have been killed without any justice, so it deserves some notice," said a third.

Since February, Graham's family has held weekly marches to a police precinct in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx to demand the indictment of the involved officers.

The indictment against Haste is expected to be unsealed on Wednesday, at which point the officer will be arraigned.

By Monday night, the Bronx district attorney had not yet commented on the case.

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