NYPD Officer Richard Haste Pleads Not Guilty In Ramarley Graham Killing And Is Released On Bail
A city cop charged with gunning down an unarmed Bronx teen pleaded innocent to manslaughter as the victim’s shattered parents wept behind him. Officer Richard Haste, who was on crutches, entered his plea in a quiet voice at a Bronx Criminal Court before posting $50,000 bail in the Feb. 2 shooting of Ramarley Graham, 18. Click below to read the rest of the story.
“Not guilty,” he declared — the only words Haste uttered during the hearing.
Haste, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, left the courthouse to a mix of
cheering police officers and angry protesters riled by the killing.
“NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” the demonstrators chanted at Haste, who climbed into a waiting black sedan and drove off.
The dead youth’s father, Frank Graham, wept in the courtroom with his wife Constance Malcolm and later broke down outside the courthouse.
“I keep asking, ‘Why? Why? Why did he kill my son?’” Graham said through sobs. “Eighteen years old. He did nothing to deserve this … We won’t have him for Father’s Day.”
Haste dodged the crowd and reporters earlier by slipping into the courthouse through a side door for his arraignment.
“It’s always difficult, but he’s being very strong,” said defense attorney Stuart London, whose client is due back in court Sept. 13.
“He understands the seriousness of these charges and he also feels for the family and understands the tragic nature, that’s there’s a loss of life. He’s nervous but confident.”
About 20 members of the Graham family and their friends made a dramatic courtroom entrance, gripping each other’s shoulders to form a human chain as they marched silently through the hallway.
“Jail the cops!” shouted protesters outside the courtroom. “Justice for Ramarley!”
“The family is grieving,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton after the hearing. “Nothing is going to bring their son back. This is the first step to getting justice, but there are no winners.”
Haste, a four-year NYPD veteran, was indicted on first — and second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting, which took place in the apartment of Graham’s grandmother in Edenwald.
Prosecutor Donald Levin pointed the finger directly at Haste for the killing.
“Ramarley Graham was boxed in the bathroom,” said Levin. “He had nowhere to go … Ramarley was looking at the barrel, the muzzle of the gun. Then Officer Haste consciously and deliberately pulled the trigger.”