Slain Bronx teen's family breaks down in tears outside court
The family of the unarmed Bronx teen killed by an NYPD officer in February broke down in tears outside a courtroom Wednesday after the officer was arraigned on manslaughter charges in the death.
Francelot Graham, father of Ramarley Graham, 18, who was fatally shot by officer Richard Haste, cried, "Haste is going home to his family. When we leave here, we're going to the cemetery," according to the AP.
"I keep asking, why, why, why did he kill our son? ... Eighteen years old, he did nothing to deserve this," he said.
Haste, 31, pleaded not guilty in Graham's death before Bronx State Supreme Court Judge Martin Marcus after surrendering to prosecutors earlier Wednesday morning, later posting $50,000 bail..
As Haste, an officer of four years who was assigned to a street narcotics unit, walked to a car, he was greeted by chants of "NYPD - KKK - How many kids did you kill today" from about 50 demonstrators angered over the way the unarmed Graham was killed.
In court just minutes earlier, assistant district attorney Donald Levin described how Haste chased Graham into his home on Feb. 2, broke down the door and then came face-to-face with the teenager in the bathroom. Haste fired once at Graham, killing him, investigators said.
Graham's family, accompanied by the Rev. Al Sharpton, and off-duty police officers sat in the courtroom for the brief arraignment.
Haste's attorney, Stuart London, said his client had no choice but to shoot, adding that Haste had asked Graham three times to "show his hands" before he fired his gun.
"It was a split second decision," London told the judge, adding that Haste had received two transmissions from his partners saying they saw Graham with a gun.
"The state of mind of my client was that he had a weapon. This officer had no choice but to fire and he only fired once," London said.
After court, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Haste's use of deadly force was unreasonable.
"Ramarley Graham was not in possession of a weapon, so no matter what transpired previously one could not form a reasonable belief they were faced with deadly force," said Johnson.
If convicted on first-degree manslaughter, Haste faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison. If Haste is found guilty to second-degree manslaughter he faces up to 15 years.