A grand jury has decided not re-indict an NYPD officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in his Bronx home last year.
Officer Richard Haste was indicted last summer on manslaughter charges in the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. Haste pursued Graham into his apartment and shot him in the bathroom. He said he believed the teen was armed.
The initial charges were dropped in May. The judge said prosecutors had improperly left the grand jury with the impression it should not consider testimony by other officers, who had said they radioed Haste to warn him they thought Graham was armed.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said in a statement Thursday he was "surprised and shocked" by the grand jury's finding. He also said he believed the judge's decision to dismiss the initial indictment had been "overly cautious."
The second grand jury, when given the proper instructions, acted "courageously," said Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
"He was facing the same imminent danger that all police officers face as we fight to rid our neighborhoods of dangerous, illegal guns," Lynch said.
Graham's family led a demonstration Thursday of about 100 people including mayoral candidate William Thompson and Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer. They called for justice and compared the case to that of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of manslaughter in Florida in the death of unarmed Trayvon Martin.
"Richard Haste broke into our home and killed my son in cold blood," said his mother, Constance Malcolm, demanding an immediate federal investigation.
His father, Franclot Graham, said he feels like he lost his son all over again because the officer will go free.
"I have so much pain and anger inside me," Graham said.
Haste may still face internal charges.
Graham was shot in the chest in the second-floor bathroom of his home on East 229th Street after police chased him inside. Security video showed the teen entering his home, and police running after him.
He died shortly after the shooting.
Police said later that Graham was not found with a gun.