#FireHaste Trial Summary January, 20

** Court re-adjourns at 1pm on Monday January 23, 2017 for closing arguments. Please come to 1 Police Plaza to support Ramarley’s family on this final day of trial **

NYPD Trial of Officer Richard Haste (the 1st officer NYPD has put on disciplinary trial for killing of Ramarley Graham, almost 5 years after Ramarley was killed)

Friday January 20
th was the fourth 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 and many supporters were turned away. Several members of Ramarley’s family, including his mother, sister, both of his grandmothers (including his grandmother who was present in the house during his killing, and was assaulted by Richard Haste who put a gun to her head, cursing her and threatening to shoot her when she tried to go to her grandson after he was shot: http://nydn.us/1DfJhdL), cousins and family friends were present. Also in attendance:

  • Families who have lost loved ones in NYPD killings incl: mother of Mohamed Bah, aunt of Akai Gurley, and nephew of John Collado

  • Elected officials, including: New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, City Councilmembers Andy King and Inez Barron

  • Organizations from across New York City and concerned New Yorkers

Officer Haste’s attorneys called Retired NYPD Lt. Daniel Modell to the stand as an expert on use of force and tactics, based on Modell’s work. Deputy Commissioner Maldonado certified him as an expert despite the NYPD DAO refuting Modell’s expertise as an expert of tactics. The NYPD Dao Attorney Nancy Slater challenged Modell’s designation as an expert witness because of his lack of relevant experience to this case, including the fact that he has never taught protocols related to warrantless entries; he never went through Emergency Services Unit training; and he has never trained officer on how to conduct breach entries.

Modell has degrees in philosophy and works as an adjunct professor of self-defense. He had no involvement in the investigation of the shooting of Ramarley Graham on February 2, 2012 nor had he seen or requested to view the video evidence of police entering Ramarley’s building or any photo evidence of the scene of the NYPD’s killing of Ramarley as part of his preparation as an “expert witness”. The DAO’s questioning of Modell revealed his lack of credible training such as his certification from Dr. Bill Lewinski, who has been described by the Justice Dept. as “lacking reliability” and whose work is described as “pseudo-science” by the American Psychological Association.

The DAO exposed Modell’s false testimony that he worked for “several years” in firearms and tactics, when in reality he left after 14 months on bad terms. In fact he was served with NYPD Charges & Specifications related to allegations that he had been fixing tickets.  

The remainder and majority of the day was dedicated to the testimony of Officer Richard Haste, who shot and killed Ramarley Graham.

Listening to Haste’s testimony was traumatizing for Ramarley’s family members as he stated blatant lies, showed a lack of remorse and gave no apology for shooting and killing Ramarley Graham.

Haste’s attorneys focused on Haste’s state of mind, citing moments of stress and anxiety and how he didn’t feel safe. Haste stated, “The options I had seem far worse than the action I took.”

The DAO questioned Officer Haste about his knowledge and tactical choices on February 2, 2012. Haste confirmed that he never saw Ramarley Graham in possession of a gun. He also confirmed that he never inspected the second floor hallway, and as a result failed to notice stairs leading to a third floor before he agreed to bust down the 2nd floor apartment (although Haste had no knowledge of whether Ramarley Graham was on the 2nd or 3rd floor, or whether he was still in the house). Throughout questioning, the DAO demonstrated that Haste failed to confer with supervisor Sergeant Morris at key points during his pursuit of Ramarley.

The DAO noted inconsistencies between Haste’s testimony in the morning and his prior statements to Internal Affairs and the grand jury.

The following were amongst the most egregious lies Richard Haste told:

  • Haste testified that he went around to the back of the house, had his gun aimed at the door and was startled when it opened and a child came out of the door. He said he then put the child behind him “to protect him”. There was an audible reaction by those in the courtroom, especially by members of Ramarley’s family as the truth is that consent was not given for entry – consent is not possible when guns are drawn on a terrified 8 year old.

  • Officer Haste said he had no knowledge of anyone else being present in the home. Ramarley’s grandmother exclaimed “I object!” and Ramarley’s family said out loud that he “threatened to shoot her too” and “she’s sitting right here.” The truth is that Ramarley’s 6 year old brother and grandmother were both in the house when Ramarley was killed. In fact after Ramarley was shot, Ramarley’s mother did what any grandmother would do – she tried to go to her grandson (after she came to the understanding that she wasn’t shot – she thought it was her that Haste shot).

  • When she exclaimed “Why did you shoot him? Why you killed him?”

  • Haste drew a gun on Ramarley’s grandmother, shoved her to the ground, yelling: “Get the f--- away before I have to shoot you, too” - http://nydn.us/1DfJhdL

  • Officer Haste also claimed that he told Ramarley to show his hands and that in response Ramarley swore at him, to which Ramarley’s grandmother, from the crowd, said “that’s not true I was there and didn’t hear that.”

In addition the lies Richard Haste told, it was noticeable that during the hours that Haste was on the stand, he never once offered condolences to Ramarley’s family for their loss.  He spoke of the challenges he felt he had experienced, but never said Ramarley’s name or acknowledge the tremendous loss of Ramarley’s family and community. In fact, Haste stated that he had spent significant time reflecting on February 2nd, 2012 and that he looks in the mirror at himself and feels his actions were justified.

Commentary:

There is much to say about today’s testimony, particularly related to Richard Haste on the stand. Richard Haste’s lies and depiction of his actions as heroic were re-traumatizing for Ramarley’s family.  A few comments (not comprehensive):

The fact that no civilian witnesses have been called during the trial and no civilian testimony was entered into evidence is outrageous for this NYPD trial.  Richard Haste is being under-charged. On a technical level, Richard Haste is not on trial for killing Ramarley - his NYPD trial is based on being charged with “poor tactical judgement”.  He is not being charged for his abuse of Ramarley’s grandmother, or the fact that his actions endangered and resulted in abuse of 5 civilians in the house when Ramarley was killed (including 2 children, aged 6 years-old and 8 years-old). Regardless of whether Richard Haste is fired, this trial has revealed systemic problems with investigation of NYPD killing New Yorkers and an NYPD culture that seeks to protect officers and cover-up misconduct.   

The fact that almost 5 years later, Ramarley’s family only knows of 2 other officers who have been served with NYPD charges (of over a dozen who engaged in a range of misconduct related to Ramarley’s killing) – and neither Sgt Morris or Officer McLoughlin have NYPD disciplinary trials calendared is an outrage.

It is beyond an injustice for Ramarley’s family to have to hear lies repeated again and again, and baseless justifications in this NYPD trial

The court was adjourned at 3pm today and will resume at 1pm on Monday, January 23, 2017.

Please support Ramarley Graham’s family to help ensure Richard Haste & all others responsible are fired by the NYPD:

·       Sign and share this petition by the Nation and Communities United for Police Reform, calling for the firing of Officer Richard Haste and ALL officers involved in the killing of Ramarley Graham and related misconduct: http://bit.ly/RamarleyGrahamPetition

·       View/share this short video by Justice Committee, explaining why officers must be fired for Ramarley Graham: bit.ly/RamarleyVid

·       For other info on the #FireHaste and #FireNYPD for #RamarleyGraham campaign: riseup4ramarley.org

Hashtags

·       #RamarleyGraham

·       #FireHaste

·       #FireNYPD