NEW YORK (AP) — A police officer was indicted Wednesday in the death of an unarmed drug suspect, the first time a New York City officer has faced criminal charges in a fatal shooting since a groom was killed in a 50-shot police barrage on his wedding day in 2006.
New York Police Department Officer Richard Haste, 30, surrendered Wednesday morning. Haste pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in a courtroom filled with officers, relatives of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham and their supporters.
"We're not looking for revenge. We're looking for justice," the Rev. Al Sharpton, a family supporter, said afterward.
Dozens of officers applauded Haste, who was on crutches because of an unrelated accident, when he left the courthouse after posting $50,000 bail. As a police union official made a statement, a small group of protesters chanted anti-police slogans behind him.
The February shooting stemmed from an NYPD investigation of a persistent drug trade in the Bronx neighborhood where Graham lived. At the time, police said investigators identified Graham as a potential suspect and radioed to other officers that he appeared to be armed with a pistol.
A witness told police that around the same time, two officers wearing NYPD jackets pulled up and yelled at a man — apparently Graham — "Police! Don't move!" After the man ducked into Graham's three-family home, the officers found a back entrance, climbed some stairs and broke down the door to a second-floor apartment where Graham lived with his grandmother and other relatives, police said.
An officer positioned behind Haste reported seeing Graham run toward a bathroom, possibly to flush away some marijuana. He also heard Haste yell, "Show me your hands!" and "Gun! Gun!" before a shot rang out, police said.
"I thought he was going to shoot me so I shot him," Haste said in a court statement read by his lawyer, Stuart London.
The lawyer also said Haste yelled "show me your hands" and "police," and reiterated that other officers had radioed that Graham was armed.
Haste fired one shot at close range from his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, police said. Graham was struck in the upper chest and collapsed in the bathroom. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
"Officer Haste consciously and deliberately pulled the trigger, shooting Ramarley Graham and causing his death," said Assistant District Attorney Donald Levin.
A search of the apartment failed to turn up any weapons. His family has said he was shot in front of his grandmother and his 6-year-old brother.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered a review of whether training and tactics were sufficient in the street narcotics division, where Haste worked. The division differs from full-time narcotics police, who are more specialized.
Kelly said some adjustments were made to the unit after the review. An order was put out codifying requirements officers needed to meet before going into the unit, but he didn't specify what the changes were.
Outside the courthouse Wednesday, police union president Patrick Lynch said he respected the Graham family's grief, but called it a tragedy resulting from a difficult situation.
"Today, we're here to show support for a New York City police officer who was put in a terrible position doing a difficult job," Lynch said as the protesters chanted, "NYPD. KKK. How many kids will you kill today?"
The Graham family has called it a clear case of excessive force.
In the 2006 shooting, Sean Bell was killed in Queens on his wedding day as he and a group of friends left his bachelor party at a strip club. An undercover team thought Bell and his friends had weapons; none were found.
Three officers were charged criminally in that shooting, but were acquitted at trial in 2008. One of the detectives was found to have acted improperly during a departmental proceeding. All three were forced to resign in 2012.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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