No New Indictment for Cop Who Shot and Killed Ramarley Graham

shot by copfamily photoDick Haste, the NYPD officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham after chasing him into his grandmother’s apartment over an alleged weed purchase, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of manslaughter. A judge threw out that indictment earlier this year because the prosecutor did not inform the grand jury that Haste’s colleagues told him (wrongly) that Graham was armed. Prosecutors vowed to seek a new indictment, but a grand jury has now declined to do that. NBC New York reports that the Bronx DA said he was “surprised and shocked” by the decision and that the dismissal of the original indictment was an “overly cautious” act by the judge.

We spoke to a Bronx councilman last month who has been pressing the Ramarley Graham issue; he would not admit that the war on drugs played a role in the teen’s death, preferring to focus exclusively on “racial profiling” even as he and other politicians want more police on their streets to combat “drug abuse”.

The Graham family has a pending lawsuit against the NYPD.

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  • A Serious Man||

    It's almost as if judges and cops are on the same team.

  • Paul.||

    In fairness to the officers, you want them to have a proper, clean trial. I keep hearing about this shit where the charges were dismissed because prosecutors withheld such and such, or some such critical piece of evidence wasn't known...

    One really wonders if the prosecutors and police are on the same team, and the prosecutors are throwing these cases.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It might be worth noting in this post that Dick Haste is an NYPD officer and not a pr0n actor.

  • sarcasmic||

    A grand jury can indict a ham sandwich, but not a pig. Go figure.

  • ||

    Dick Haste? Didn't we used to have a racist named Richard "Dick" Hoste who used to show up occasionally and post to widespread ridicule?

  • Paul.||

    Who doesn't post to widespread ridicule?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If a cop who bursts into in some old lady's apartment can't fire wildly at the first person he sees, the nation will be instantly overrun by narcoterroristas. Not to mention bloodthirsty ragheads.

  • ||

    Wow. A cop can run into people's homes and just start shooting and killing, huh?

    Wonder why the grand jury declined to indict.

  • Paul.||

    Exigent circumstances followed by Furtive movements...

  • PapayaSF||

    From the earlier article: "Investigators say police spotted Graham — who's had 8 prior arrests on charges including robbery, marijuana possession and resisting arrest — on White Plains Road when he started to run."

    I should formulate "PapayaSF's Law." Something like: "Cases of police brutality or misconduct often involve the victim doing at least one stupid thing." The corollary: "Not acting stupidly will greatly reduce your chances of being a victim of police brutality or misconduct."

    And to address the usual objections: I am not saying he deserved it. I am not supporting the cop involved. I am not supporting the drug war. I am not saying police brutality or misconduct never happens, or that it isn't important. All I am saying is that it is noticeable that so many of these cases involve people making one (or many) stupid decisions that puts them in danger of a cop making a mistake (or expressing his brutality or whatever you want to call it).

  • Outlaw||

    He shouldn't have worn that dress.

  • PapayaSF||

    I thought I addressed that by saying "I am not saying he deserved it," but I'll make it even clearer for you. If a woman wears a sexy dress, gets drunk, passes out in an alley, and gets raped, it doesn't excuse the rapist. However, it's also true that she contributed to what happened to her by acting stupidly and putting herself into a situation which greatly increased the chances of something bad happening. To point that out is not to "blame the victim."

  • Outlaw||

    It's a dumb point and it really doesn't matter.

    It's like saying that if I always kept my wallet in my front pocket rather than my back pocket I probably wouldn't have been pick-pocketed.

    That's fucking obvious.

    What really matters is this: was the cop justified or not in killing him?

    If yes, then fine. If no, then he should be punished.

    People contribute to their own demise and misfortunes in all sorts of ways but why bring it up here?

    Are you trying to give us all helpful advice on how to avoid being murdered by society's uniformed unaccountable bloodthirsty marauders? Is that it?

    Well, thanks for that. I guess.

  • Enough About Palin||

    The only difference between uniformed and uninformed is the letter "n"

  • sarcasmic||

    What really matters is this: was the cop justified or not in killing him?

    If yes, then fine. If no, then he should be punished.

    Except that we know that the cop will not be punished. Should he be? Yes. Will he be? No.

    So knowing that this armed thug with a badge can commit any level of violence without consequence, you aggravate him at your own peril.

  • Andrew S.||

    What exactly is the reason to point that out if it's not to assign some level of blame to the victim? If you're saying that the victim put themselves in a position to be victimized, you, at least on some level, are minimizing the actions of the perpetrator and are placing at least some level of blame on the victim.

  • Outlaw||

    This.

  • PapayaSF||

    When people say "you are blaming the victim" it usually means "you are saying that the victim is responsible, but the victim deserves none of the responsibility." But it's not either/or. Yes, in this as many other cases, the victim deserves some of the responsibility, and that's important because it puts the incidents into a larger context, and rather deflates the larger point all these stories are trying to make.

    The Reason attitude about these stories is rather too sensationalist: "Killer cops run wild again!" If you have eight arrests (including for robbery) by the time you're 18, run from the cops, and make a sudden move when cornered, yup, you are putting yourself at substantial risk of being shot, justly or unjustly.

    It's like reporting every time a dog bites someone as evidence of an epidemic of dangerous dogs, without noting that most of the victims, just before being bitten, were poking the dogs with sticks.

    That doesn't mean that dogs should bite people, or that there aren't dangerous dogs, but it's hard for me to adopt the "epidemic of killer cops" narrative when, too often, I look at the details and think: "Well, duh, you moron."

  • Andrew S.||

    I'd say that in most cases where a person is victimized, they, at least on some level, put themselves in a disadvantageous position where it made it more likely that they would become a victim. But what of that?

    Again, you're saying something by not saying it. You're placing blame on the victim -- even edging onto the line of "he was bad, he deserved to die.", even though you deny saying that.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    One of the "stupid decisions" they often make is being non-white.

  • ||

    It's always worthwhile pointing out, but it is very hard to be so self-reflecting in a stressful scenario.

    If these officers are "trained" as well as they assure us they are, then address mix-ups, brazen mistaken identity, accidental discharges, and orders to "spray away!" should not happen as often as often or more often that a normal citizen doing something relatively foolish under unexpected pressure.

  • Andrew S.||

    Did the police know of his priors when they made the decision to chase? If they did not, why are the priors relevant, even in your calculus?

  • PapayaSF||

    If they are neighborhood cops, they might have known him and his priors, but I don't know. The priors are relevant because they show a pretty lengthy pattern of stupid behavior, the sort that gets you in trouble with cops and thus puts you at greater risk of this sort of thing happening.

  • Calidissident||

    If police were pursuing him for robbery, you might have a point. In this case, they were pursuing him for purchasing marijuana. I don't blame him for not submitting to our Overlords' decree that Thou Shalt Not Touch the Devil's Weed

  • PapayaSF||

    Like I said, I am not defending the drug war, but cops get shot in all sorts of minor circumstances. The level of offense (or whether it should be an offense at all) seems pretty irrelevant to the risk to the officer in any individual case. They seem to get shot more often at traffic stops or domestic disputes than when arresting murderers or bank robbers. So it's always a bad idea to do anything sudden or furtive when confronted by police.

  • Calidissident||

    They shouldn't be trying to arrest people for buying weed in the first place. I have no sympathy if they then kill the guy because they were scared. Fuck this guy

  • MOFO.||

    In defense of Dick Haste, the subject was black at the time of the shooting.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    RESISTANCE IS FATAL

  • Andrew S.||

    Something something double standard something something.

    I feel the need to exclusively reply to these kinds of posts with jokes, because otherwise I get angry. And most people don't like me when I'm angry.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Brett L||

    Judge needs that all important FOP endorsement and money.

  • Paul.||

    Huh, I was like, "Why are they pushing so hard to prosecute this cop? This seems odd." Then I realized it was a race issue, not a police power issue.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Guess Who?:

    if you are stupid enough to reach for your waistband when the cop is pointing a gun at you and tells you to keep your hands up, YOU signed your death warrant.
  • Enough About Palin||

    I gotta say, there is some truth to that. The cops surrounded a car in front of my house while I was watering the lawn. As this was happening, another man started to approach the car. He was asked, "Is this your car?" The man continued his approach and then put his hand in his pocket. The cop told him to remove his hand from his pocket. He failed to comply. My first thought was WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID? The cop ordered him a second time with his hand on his holstered weapon at which point the man complied. Seriously, what was this idiot thinking?

  • PapayaSF||

    ^This.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Prosecutors vowed to seek a new indictment, but a grand jury has now declined to do that. NBC New York reports that the Bronx DA said he was “surprised and shocked” by the decision"

    To get back on my soapbox, this illustrates that (for better or worse) a grand jury can actually wield a veto over prosecutions. What if there'd been a grand jury in the Zimmerman case? The US Supreme Court needs to look into "incorporating" the 5th Amendment's grand jury clause against the state - nobody to be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime without a grand jury's presentment or indictment.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    against the *states*

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