Richard Haste, the New York police officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Ramarley Graham, has resigned.
The New York Daily News reported that Haste resigned shortly before he was expected to be fired in the teen’s 2012 shooting death.
According to Newsday, Haste’s lawyer has called him a scapegoat of political pressure on the Police Department.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Department Disciplinary Panel Found Haste Guilty of Charges
The Daily News reported that “the commissioner from his (Haste’s) departmental trial concluded he was guilty of all charges and would recommend Police Commissioner James O’Neill fire him.”
The New York Police Department said in a statement that Haste quit “upon being informed that on Friday, March 24 the Department Trial Commissioner found him guilty on all counts and recommended his employment be terminated.”
The department was seeking to discipline Haste after accusing him of violating procedures, even though he has never been convicted in a criminal court.
2. Haste Shot Graham After Following the Teenager Into His Bronx Apartment
The circumstances of Graham’s death generated outrage.
According to ABC 7, Graham “was 18 when he was shot once in the bathroom of his Bronx home in 2012 during a drug investigation. He was killed in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother.”
PIX 11 reported that Haste testified previously that “he got out of his police van during a drug probe in Graham’s Bronx neighborhood and followed the teenager, suspected on police radio chatter of having a gun, into his apartment building.”
According to the television station, Haste testified that he and his partner brown down Graham’s door and then “saw Graham sidestep into a bathroom, and he leaned inside to face him.”
3. Haste Argued He Mistakenly Thought Graham Had a Gun & Avoided Federal Charges
Although Graham was not armed, Haste contended he thought the Bronx 18-year-old had a weapon. According to PIX 11, Haste testified that he yelled, “Show me your hands!” but “Graham instead reached deeper into his pants and yelled obscenities.” The television station quoted Haste as saying, “I thought I was about to be shot. I expected to be dead.”
That allowed him to avoid federal charges, reported CBS News, because authorities felt “there was no evidence to refute Haste’s claim that he shot the teen because he mistakenly believed he was reaching for a gun.”
According to CBS, Haste was originally charged with criminal manslaughter in connection with the death but the charge “was dismissed because of a procedural error and a new grand jury declined to indict.”
4. Graham’s Mother Released a Statement Saying Haste Should Be in Prison & Criticized the System
Graham’s upset mother wasn’t satisfied with the resignation.
She said in a statement, according to ABC 7, “My son Ramarley was gunned down and murdered by NYPD Officer Richard Haste over 5 years ago. Richard Haste should have been in prison but instead of even firing him, the de Blasio administration let him resign. This is just another example that the de Blasio administration doesn’t care about justice and accountability. Every step of the way, the Mayor and NYPD have dragged their heels and have refused to hold officers accountable for murdering my son.”
5. Haste Was Accused of ‘Botching Departmental Tactics’
According to NBC 4, Haste was accused of “botching departmental tactics.”
“Richard Haste was brought on departmental charges for demonstrating ‘poor judgment’ by not taking obvious steps to defuse a fatal standoff with Ramarley Graham,” the television station reported.
PIX 11 reported that police lawyers said Haste “botched department tactics requiring him to take cover and call for backup in his pursuit of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in 2012.”