The federal investigation into the 2012 shooting death of Ramarley Graham, 18, by police in the Bronx has been closed and no charges filed, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.
There was “insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal charges,” according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s statement.
Graham, who was unarmed, was fatally shot by NYPD Officer Richard Haste as he was trying to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet in his Bronx apartment. His grandmother and younger brother, 6 years old at the time, were home.
Officers from the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit had been watching a bodega earlier and flagged Graham after watching him walk in and out of the store.
After a series of failed grand jury actions in state court the case against NYPD Officer Richard Haste stalled.
Haste, who is currently on modified duty, will now face potential departmental charges within the NYPD.
“Now that the federal investigation into the Ramarley Graham case has concluded, the NYPD’s internal disciplinary process will move forward,” an NYPD spokesman said in an email.
Frank Graham, Ramarley’s father, said the decision not to charge Haste was “very, very frustrating” and he hoped the officers involved would be fired.
“There’s no way, no way taxpayers should be paying these people,” Graham said. “We don’t want another year or six months for this to happen. All we’ve been doing is waiting and being patient.”
Graham said he was hopeful the case would move forward, and that after four years it feels like “throwing salt in the whole wound.”
“I’m just dumbfounded. I just don’t understand it,” he said. “All we wanted was our day in court. It hurts so much.”
Bharara on Tuesday wrote the burden to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation is the “highest standard of intent imposed by law.”
Haste has said when he looked in the bathroom, Graham’s hand was in his waistband and then made a motion, as if pulling something from his pants.
According to Bharara, this belief has to be considered as his “knowledge at the time of the shooting,” and the investigation didn’t reveal any evidence to dispute this.
“Accordingly, this Office’s investigation into Mr. Graham’s death has been closed,” according to the statement. “Mr. Bharara expressed his deep sympathy to the family of Mr. Graham for their tragic loss.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said he was shocked by the lack of charges.
“My heart goes out to the Graham families, who have now seen their quest for justice for their son twice denied,” Diaz said in a statement. “This latest development is an outrage. At a time when the issue of police-community relations has been at the forefront of American discourse — especially the treatment of minorities by those charged to protect and serve them — the U.S. Attorney’s office has failed to set an example for our nation.”