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As I learned when we talked about the Sean Bell shooting many years ago, everyone suffers when a police officer shoots and kills an unarmed person. Both families. Both communities. The pain is different, but more closely related than people realize. Loss. And fear of loss. This trial won't bring peace to both sides. But I do hope something can be learned from this to make New York City a better place.
Police Officer Richard Haste pleaded not guilty today in the shooting death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in the Bronx. Haste faces first and second degree manslaughter charges and could spend up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Haste left the courtroom this afternoon after posting $50,000 bail.
In February, the 30-year-old street narcotics officer fired one shot from close range inside Graham's bathroom, as the teen allegedly flushed marijuana down the toilet. In a court statement read by his lawyer, Haste said he thought Graham "was going to shoot me, so I shot him." No weapon was found.
This is the first time a City police officer has faced criminal charges in a fatal shooting since 2006. Based on what you've read and heard about this shooting, are manslaughter charges appropriate? What questions do you want answered in this case? Will both sides be treated fairly in court? Does the NYPD need more oversight, as some City Council members suggested today?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
Many cops are out of control and violate the laws themselves in their daily duties. Stop and frisk is one notorious example, but the more deadly example is shooting to kill.
Supposedly, cops take shooting lessons. If so, they should be able to disable a suspected criminal with far less than deadly force. If they are so accurate, why always shoot to kill. Shoot the runaway culprit in the leg.
And what’s with shooting all the bullets you have and can get from fellow cops? If shooting is so accurate, a single bullet should be sufficient. Stop the cops!
They have to wait for the trial and hear both sides of the incident and eliminate the outside influences.
Thank you John,
Give me a badge and a gun with a license to kill with the only repercussion for my actions being desk duty and I too would be nothing more then a #$@%&. Smh I have no respect for the NYPD I hope they rot in hell.
As you said unfortunately no matter what the outcome of this case it won't solve anything or heal anyone. The relations between the Black and Hispanic community and the NYPD have always been bad, and it is probably not going to get better anytime soon. The perception seems to be that whatever the police do is justified to protect communities from crime, but the mindset with which do so is not consistent or the same depending on what neighborhood it is and what the people look like. In the end you have a situation where some people feel like what the police do is okay because it protects them from "those people", while others end up getting it from both sides since they have to live between fearing criminals where they live and the police that are supposed to be protecting them.
Odds are this case will end up like most of the police shooting cases and this cop will walk. At the end of the day though this all seems like both the cop and the shooting victim used poor judgement, with one of them paying with their life. Graham shouldn't have run, even if he was carrying something. The one thing young minority males need to realize is that when you run it gives them cause in their mind to execute you. As for the police it seems like they were too gung-ho and their actions don't seem to make common sense let alone good police tactics. I for one would not run into a house with an alleged armed individual and who knows what else behind the door. The fact that they pursued him in such an aggressive manner and put their lives and the lives of other people in the house at risk makes one wonder how afraid they were. Again I don't know how wise it is the crawl through a window of a house if you think someone is armed, don't they call for back-up and ESU in those instances. If they had of waited and actually tried to talk to the grandmother odds are she would have drug the kid downstairs herself, the way they did it put themselves and others in more danger than it was worth.
The other thing that comes out of this is how with all that aggressive policing nothing of any merit came of this. A kid got killed, no weapons or drugs were found on him, and whatever they thought was going on at the initial bodega probably stopped and nobody was charged with anything. In the end it just seems like bad police work that accomplished little aside from a tragic death and creating an even greater divided between the police and a community that was already hostile towards the police.
Let us not forget that young Ramarley Graham was being pursued for his alleged possession of marijuana, a malum prohibitum crime that is being decriminalized across the country because, while government officials, judges, and prosecutors don't yet want to legalize marijuana, they don't believe that it's in society's best interests to send people to jail for possessing it.
Why were these police officers, members of a narcotics detail, not out enforcing narcotics laws designed to combat hard drugs like heroin, crack, and other more harmful substances? Could it be that it's easier and safer to go after young pot smokers who are less likely than hard drug dealers to be armed and dangerous? If we learn anything from this tragedy, it's the sad fact that the most dangerous thing about marijuana is that you can be shot down by the NYPD for having it. When will this insanity stop?
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
We hear this kind of stories pretty often. A lot of publicity and a lot of media. What kind of resolution will youngster’s make after all: police is brutal, don’t trust police. I have not hear one voice that sad: If policemen telling you something, you have to listen to him and behave. If you fill he is wrong, complain later. This would be a remedy of a lot of future confrontations and killings. Why no NY1 commentators ever made this kind of statement? Is it something “politically incorrect”?
Staten Island NY
ANOTHER UNARMED MINORITY KILLED BECAUSE AN OFFICER THOUGHT HE SAW A GUN.
THIS SHOOT FIRST AND ASKED QUESTIONS LATER ATTITUDE THAT SOME COPS HAVE NEEDS TO STOP. WENT DID RUNNING AWAY FROM THE POLICE BECOME A DEATH SENTENCE.
No seems to want to address the real problem, it's called COMSTAT. That's were precinct c.o.'s are under pressure to make Quoters in order to get promoted.
Let's be serious, the victim will never be treated fairly in a court of law or public opinion. The charges of manslaughter although not appropriate seem to be the only charges that this officer would most likely be indicted let alone convicted on. Believing that a person has a weapon is not the same as a person having a weapon and flushing marijuana down a toilette is not a justifiable excuse for a homicide.
I didn't know marijuana was such a deadly weapon.
It amazes me how callers in support of the police in the shooting of this kid seem to justify the pursuit and shooting of this unarmed yes unarmed kid (an indisputable fact) on the grounds that then only thing he was guilty of was possessing and then flushing some marijuana in the toilette.
I would like to finally see a cop convicted for shooting an unarmed black man (or boy, as in this case). These types of blatant racist acts by the NYPD break my heart. There should have been convictions for the murders of Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell. The questions I want answered? why the hell did the cop go into that house at all? Why did he chase the teenager into the bathroom? he could have stayed outside and called for backup, there was no need at all to go in. how on earth , in a small bathroom, could he not see that Ramarley didn't have a gun, unless he charged in with his own gun blazing. I'm tired of all the excuses and rationalizing, cops and the mayor saying things like" cops have a hard job" and "things happen so fast". Nothing justifies murder, which is what this was. Why don't these things happen to white men?
meryl from manhattan
Ask that emailer, "walk a day, our shoes(non-white people); and then answer your own question. Sick and tired, of these miss informed suburbanites talking the talk. But never able, to walk the walk. Come to the inner city; and see for yourselves. Must be clear, NOT ALL cops are bad apples. But, for the police chief to stand in front of cameras. And come off, like the streets of New York is a war zone. Wake up!
There are plenty of things that people are skimming over and most importantly there seems to be a focus only on one part of that video.
Of course #1 If someone has a gun why would you run into a closed house after him. #2 Why wasn't backup called? #3 At that time, what was being radio'd in from the other officer and to whom.
But my thing is what's happening before. From seeing the video over and over I believe that the Narcotics officer saw Romarlie buy marijuana from someone. Romarlie walked home after making his purchase. If you notice, he was not running from them and the officers were coming from the opposite direction. They were undercover Narcotics officers were trying to creep up to catch him to arrest him. However as Romarlie's walking back to his house the police announced themselves before he could get into the house. That's when Romarlie noticed them and since he purchased the marijuana he went to flush it down the toilet. Before he could complete that task he was caught by officer, whom shouldn't have been in the house in the first place. Once that close, there should have never been any reason to shoot him.
My name is Linda and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have watched the tape of the teen entering his building every chance I got and I even found it on the web. I have yet to see a teen running in his house. I see a teen walk to his house, stick his key in the door, look over his shoulder and then enter his building followed by 2 police offices kicking and trying to gain access. If there is actually a tape with this teen running to his house, would you plese air it.
There are good cops on the out there but he killed that to try to be a hero. I just want to know why the cops get trail as a different person would in a death case? That's not rite and unfair to the people in NYC.
I believe the charges are appropriate. I don't believe the officer saw a gun, he rushed to judgement and killed an unarmed person. This officer needs to be found guilty, so that it will send a clear message to other police officers that there are consequences to rushing to judgements, especially when you break into a private residence without a warrant.
There is nothing heroic about shooting an unarmed person. Nothing. Though not in law enforcement, I have formal weapons training. Its simple, the officer did not see a weapon because the child did not have one - why shoot?????
The officers carrying out stop and frisks......They do so under the premise that an individual may be armed or in possession of a controlled substance. What if they should decide that "hey! I told this guy to stop, he might have a gun, oh! I know, let me shoot him just in case. There is nothing heroic about shooting an unarmed person. Nothing.
In NYC it is apparent that visible possession of a firearm by a "black man/boy," is illegal. As the professor at John Jay College stated, that according to the first amendment the possession of a firearm is NOT illegal (as long as you have a permit).
Again, unless you are a BLACK MAN, just as the undercover transit police officer Desmond Robinson (a Black police officer) was shot several times by another police officer with the ASSUMPTION that officer Robinson was GUILTY because he was in possession of a gun!!!!!! This office should be charged and found guilty for the killing / murder of this young man.
Yvette - Park Slope
Hi my name is Terri from brooklyn.
I was just truly disturbed by the gentleman from greenwich. Since when is it the duty of an officer not to follow the rules? He is not a hero. Yes he was doing his job but since when is it a police officer duty to harm or shoot to kill? There are protocols that a police officer has to follow.. To me it seems like he was upset that he even had to chase the gentleman and even more when he made it inside of his home and they were not able to catch him. I feel he is guilty!
If Ramarley Graham was such a good kid why was he flushing weed down the toliet? Who taught him that? He came from a decent family and at 18 made his adult choices. If he would've been home chillin and playing video games instead of buying weed on the corner Officer Haste makes waste would not have wasted him. As far as I'm concerned half the blame falls on Ramarley.
Jimmy from the bronx.
FACT: Marijuana does not "kill"... but the represive prohibition laws of 1933 have enabled many police to kill people who use it.
FACT: Ramarley Graham was runing from the cops because he was young and had just purchased Marijuana from a seller who the Corrupt Police Dept. allows to stay in business.
FACT: Police are trigger happy and just like Doctors have a need to operate on a patent for minor problems, cops have a need to use their guns because most are sociopaths from dysfunctional families.
FACT: Kicking down a door without a Search Warant is a violation of The Bill Rights of The United States.
FACT: Police are NOT "Heros"... they recieve a salary for their work, and ould not even have pursued Ramarley Graham if they were volunteers.
New York, NY
I am all for appointing an inspector general for oversight of the NYPD. BUT NOT IF IT IS ANOTHER MAYORAL APPOINTEE!!! And I guess since most of the city council members are on board with independent oversight of the NYPD, it is all up to Ms. Christine Quinn herself to bring it to a vote. Another Mayor Bloomberg cronie . . . and around we all go.
I was stopped while I was pregnant in a car for being at a bus stop which I wasn't aware of! & a male officer tried to search me until I protested and told him he couldn't because I was a female and he then proceeded to call a female officer she then searched me bag & saw my prenatal pills then stopped! Recently my husband was stopped while walking with my daughter and the officer ran out the car and patted his pockets for no absolute reason! Its a abuse of authority & even if there was an oversight whose to say its accurate or that they would follow through!
Richard Haste's shot another human being with the intent to kill. Furthermore like so many other police officers he claims he thought he "saw" a gun. Perhaps NYPD officers should be mandated to take a battery of eye exams before and after becoming a police officer.
dee from queens
It is a shame and I do feel bad for this officer, I’m sure he was trying to do the right thing and he didn’t specifically go with the intentions of killing a young man. However he wouldn’t be in this situation if he would have shown the same general courtesy and respect to people of minority neighborhoods mostly blacks and Hispanics that would have been given in other prominent and affluent neighborhoods. Show me the last time an officer (let’s say in the 68) bust thru a door and barge in and walk by Mama Mangia to kill her grandson, or (lets go to the 90) and have an officer bust thru a door and barge in and walk by Rabbi SomethingBerg and kill his grandson? Officers often trample the rights of minorities and who could blame them, what’s to fear? Unfortunately most in these neighborhoods don’t even know who their local councilman/person is. People must step up and start going to the local pct community meetings, getting involved with the local politicians. If you are going to wait for Rev Al to show up at your doorstep chances are its too late.
In all my 57 years I don't ever recall a white unarmed teen being shot and killed by a NYC police officer. Why does it continuously happen to our young Black and Minority youth?
One has to wonder how New Yorkers would be reacting if it were BLACK cops "accidently" shooting and killing WHITE civilians.
Upper East side
I respect the Police and if I am trouble, they will be the first people I call. However, when there is split-second decisions to be made, they always err on the side of the black man. We will always view the Police differently from our white, middle class neighbors because we hear them curse at us and our youth, we see them mishandle us and our youth, and we witness first hand the disrespect That they give to us. Lastly, since when does selling a bag of marijuana result in a death sentence.
Diahann, East Harlem
Hi. I have no bad feelings against the N.y.P.D. We do need officers. My issue with this shooting was unjustifiable people run from cops all the time That doesn't mean you can just shoot and ask questions later. I think that Officer Richard Was just gun hoe. If it is not a serious crime Or a harden criminal the chase should have stopped. We never should have a officer to Kick a door open on simple nickel and dime crime like that. They have real crime that they Don't respond in that manner. Now we as a people need to step up. This is beyond a races Matter this is a human matter. Even if he had drugs it was not know big bust going down. The police get away with a lot of things and we as a people know if he was not a BLACK CHILD. They never would have went to that extend. The drugs come here through other Sources black young men is the escape. Go shoot the people who really have the Drugs coming Into this Country. You know this only happens to our Black Children. Enough is Enough.
Like so many other police officers Richard Haste claims he thought he "saw" a gun. Perhaps NYPD officers should be mandated to take a battery of semi-annual eye exams after becoming a police officer since their vision becomes blurred less than 20/20 when policing African American communitites.
lisa from queens
First of all this officer is not guilty. This teen was at fault, his parents will always preach that he was a good kid but he wasn't he has been arrested before and he smoked weed and was buying it that's day and what is not to say he didn't sell it either, by the videos shown he looks like a suspect. Armed or not he brought it upon himself to get shot if that officer felt his life was in danger than by all means necessary.. Also by the videos shown on the news he teen seemed nervous looking back like he's afraid and one question why was there security cameras on the outside of the house? Exactly!! Also his parents look like they are straight up crack heads.. They just want to get paid!! Ramarley, was a delinquent, but if it was Ramarley that had shot the officer it would not have been a big deal and Al sharpton would not be sticking his nose. And last but not least black people need to get over their slavery days seriously!!! Everything to them is racism ..get over it !! Don't raise delinquents and thugs and this world would be a better place and get over it.
I think the nypd should have a program where people can do ride alongs after signing a waiver...so they can see what its like to patrol these streets...stop question n frisk is a great tool to combat those who like to carry guns.how many bad guys think twice before leavin there house because they know that they my get stop by police...