NYPD Trial of Officer Richard Haste (the 1st officer NYPD who was put on disciplinary trial for killing of Ramarley Graham, almost 5 years after Ramarley was killed)
Day 1 of NYPD Trial of Haste Summary:
Tuesday January 17th was the first day of the NYPD administrative trial of Officer Richard Haste, who shot and killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham on February 2, 2012. The courtroom was packed to capacity with Ramarley’s family and supporters. They were joined by Akai Gurley’s aunt and Mohamed Bah’s mother, whose loved ones were also killed by the NYPD.
Thank you to all New Yorkers who came out on this first day to pack court and for a mid-day rally. As Ramarley’s mother said at the end of the day: “It’s been almost 5 years. Your support at this time means so much to me and my family. Richard Haste and all the officers who were responsible for killing my son, abusing my family and covering it up should be fired and off the streets. Thank you.”
Rosemarie Maldonado (NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials) presided over the trial. Attorney Beth Douglas, speaking for the two-attorney team from the NYPD Department Advocates Office (DAO), charged officer Haste with “poor tactical judgement” that led to “discharge of a firearm” and “resulted in death”. The DAO called for Officer Haste to be fired, citing multiple patrol guidelines that he violated, including there being no emergency circumstances to explain Haste entering Ramarley’s apartment instead of calling the Emergency Services Unit.
Officer Haste was represented by attorneys Stuart London and Michael Martinez. London called Haste “a hero officer attempting to take a loaded weapon off the street” and said that “police work should not be subject to second guessing.” Haste’s attorneys argued that the shooting was reasonable within NYPD guidelines because Officer Haste “feared for his life.”
The first witness was Sergeant Jewth, who was the lead investigator for Ramarley’s case when Sergeant Jewth was part of the Internal Affairs Bureau. His testimony confirmed no firearm was recovered from Ramarley or his home. As Ramarley’s family has said since he was killed almost 5 years ago, Ramarley was unarmed, he had not committed a crime, and he should have been safe in his own home.
Officer Chris Crocitto testified his recollection of the day, though stated that he had a difficult time remembering the sequence of events that led to the killing of Ramarley.
Detective Andrew Jarvis and Detective Tyrone Horne were also called as witnesses. It was stated on record that they were both promoted to detective after Ramarley was killed. On the day of the shooting, they were the two-person Observation Point team that was surveilling a specific bodega, looking for suspicious activity. They testified that they became suspicious of Ramarley because:
Ramarley and his two friends “walked with a purpose”
Ramarley “adjusted his waistband” – prompting them to claim that Ramarley had a gun
Ramarley went in and out of the bodega quickly, without buying anything
Some of what was most difficult for Ramarley’s family and supporters was hearing these baseless justifications when the truth is:
Ramarley was UNARMED
NO WEAPON was ever found
Ramarley was NOT committing a crime
Commentary on Day 1:
The fact is Ramarley was walking in his own neighborhood with his friends and then he continued to walk home. He was followed by the NYPD but didn’t even realize it. Video was shown at the first day of trial showing Ramarley walking calmly into his home, unaware that officers were following him.
Video also showed Officer Haste running up to the front door of the house and attempting to break it down/bust in through the front without cause for such actions. The NYPD claims Haste gained 1st floor entry through consent of a neighbor in the back of the house, though that story has been contested by the neighbor in the past. When Haste and his partner get to Ramarley’s 2nd floor apartment, they bust into the apartment and Haste shot/killed Ramarley immediately upon entry.
The DAO correctly asserted that there were “no emergency circumstances that would have explained or justified the breach of that door” that led to Ramarley’s home.
Ramarley was gunned down in what should have been the safety of his home, in front of his 6 year-old brother and grandmother. According to his grandmother, after Richard Haste shot Ramarley, she tried to go to Ramarley to help him. Haste shoved her to the ground, put a gun to her and said: “Get the f--- away before I have to shoot you, too,” (Daily News, January 30, 2015)
Officer Haste must be held accountable for his actions and must be fired. New Yorkers should also support Ramarley’s family’s continued demand for transparency and firing of all other officers responsible for the events leading to Ramarley’s unjust killing, abuse of his family and related misconduct suggesting a cover-up.
Thankyou to everyone who was able to turnout to pack the court for the 1st day of trial and/or showed up for the mid-day rally, to support Ramarley’s family – including: Royce Russell (attorney for Ramarley’s family), Councilmember Andy King, Councilmember Jumaane Williams, Hertencia Peterson (aunt of Akai Gurley), Hawa Bah (mother of Mohamed Bah), Justice Committee, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, NAACP LDF, Center for Constitutional Rights, Make the Road New York, MomsRising, LatinoJustice, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice, 1199 SEIU, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and many other members/partners of Communities United for Police Reform.
On Day 2 (Wednesday January 18), the mother of Eric Garner will be joining Ramarley’s family, in addition to other supporters.
For more info on packing the court for Ramarley: http://bit.ly/RamarleyPackTheCourt
To view/share a short video explaining why officers must be fired for Ramarley Graham: http://bit.ly/RamarleyVid