The New York City police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Ramarley Graham inside his own home has been found guilty -- of using “poor judgment.” Richard Haste, 35, officially quit the force Sunday (March 26), to avoid being fired.
Haste’s resignation came two days after he was found guilty on administrative charges, of using improper judgment by killing Graham rather than de-escalating the situation. The trial commissioner also recommended that Haste be terminated, and Police Commissioner James O’Neill agreed with the decision, reports NBC New York.
Haste won't receive a pension, and resigned as a way to maintain some form of control. “I chose to go out on my terms,” he told CBS New York. “It’s probably the most difficult decision I had to make.”
In 2012, Haste killed Graham inside the Bronx apartment where his grandmother lived. Cops claimed Graham was suspected of selling drugs, and followed him home from a nearby bodega. Cops originally stated that Graham ran away from them, which was disproved by video surveillance where he can be seen walking into the Bronx apartment complex.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at kicking down the apartment's front door, officers went through the back entrance, and which point Haste encountered Graham in a bathroom. Haste said Graham was attempting to flush marijuana down a toilet.
Haste also testified that he yelled out “Show me your hands!” before shooting Graham in the chest. He claims that he thought the teen was reaching for a gun in his waistband.
Graham was unarmed.
Haste was initially hit with manslaughter charges, that were later dropped. Graham’s family sued the city and reached a $3.9 million settlement in 2015.
Meanwhile, the NYPD remanded Haste to modified duty after the shooting. Haste, who is pursuing a masters degree in mental health, now feels that the decision to fire him was more political than practical.
“It definitely had an air of not having to do with police work, but having to do obviously with powers above that — political nature of the job,” he concluded. “Which I understand. We work here, we have to have the public’s trust, but to go for that solution seemed a little too charged.”
Graham's mother, Constance Malcolm, is outraged that Haste opted to step down rather than be fired. She reminded the press that there has been no justice for her slain son.
“Five years later, again I’m standing here with a slap in the face,” Malcolm said Monday (March 27). “Same disrespect over and over for five years.”
See below for Malcolm and Haste's reactions to the internal investigation.