Pubdate: Fri, 11 Mar 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Authors: Al Baker and Ashley Southall


After federal prosecutors declined this week to file criminal charges 
against a white New York City police officer who fatally shot an 
unarmed black teenager in the Bronx four years ago, the Police 
Department's long-delayed internal case against him will proceed.

The mother of the teenager, Ramarley Graham, stood at City Hall on 
Thursday and called on Officer Richard Haste, who shot her son, to be 
fired along with other officers of the Street Narcotics Enforcement 
Unit involved in the episode.

"The public needs to know that we don't have any rights in our homes 
anymore," Constance Malcolm, the teenager's mother, said later. "A 
cop can break into your home - that's what the city is telling us right now."

Mr. Graham, 18, was killed after officers in the narcotics unit 
spotted him on the street on Feb. 2, 2012, in the Wakefield 
neighborhood, thought he might be armed and followed him into his 
family's home. Officer Haste fired one round at Mr. Graham, who was 
inside the second-floor bathroom.

The teenager was not armed, officials said, and no gun was found at the scene.

The department filed internal disciplinary charges in June 2012 
against Officer Haste, who joined the force in 2008, as well as 
against a sergeant from the unit and another officer.

Asked about the matter on Thursday, Police Commissioner William J. 
Bratton said that departmental lawyers were assembling a case and 
moving forward.

"Normally, when the federal agencies begin an investigation, usually 
a civil rights investigation, we take a step back until they finish 
their investigation," Mr. Bratton said. "And that's what we did."

Officer Haste has remained on modified assignment, or desk duty, 
while still being paid.

Stuart London, a lawyer for the officer, said he expected the 
department to either make his client an offer to settle the matter or 
schedule it for an internal hearing.

Mr. Bratton is the ultimate arbiter in such cases, in which the most 
severe penalty is dismissal. If there is a hearing, Ms. Malcolm said 
she planned to attend.

"The system already failed me, I think the whole world can see that," 
she said. "But to be at the disciplinary hearing will be a good thing 
for me so he can see me and see the pain he caused me. He needs to see me."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom