Colleen Long, AP, March 10, 2016
The family and friends of an unarmed black teen shot to death in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother by a white police officer demanded the officer’s badge Thursday and argued that if the races had been reversed, justice would be swifter.
This week, federal prosecutors declined to file federal civil rights charges against Officer Richard Haste in the 2012 death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. The decision ended the possibility of criminal charges for Haste, who was indicted earlier on a state manslaughter charge that a judge dismissed, saying prosecutors had improperly instructed grand jurors. Another grand jury then declined to indict Haste, who said he fired at Graham because he thought Graham would shoot him.
The police department hit Haste with internal charges. Disciplinary proceedings are now moving forward now that criminal proceedings are completed, which is standard procedure.
Haste was reassigned to the fleet services division and remains stripped of his gun and badge. He could request an internal trial and faces being fired, though Commissioner William Bratton has the ultimate say.
City Councilman Charles Barron said so much disappointment within the black community could turn the movement from peaceful to violent.
“We’re not going to take this lying down,” he said. “Don’t blame me when people start saying, ‘An eye for an eye.'”
Graham’s family settled with the city in January 2015 for $3.9 million.