The city of New York has agreed to pay out $3.9 million to settle a wrongful lawsuit settlement filed by the family of a Bronx teenager shot to death by a police officer in 2012. In Feb. 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot in the chest while in his family’s bathroom, after being chased into his family’s home by officer Richard Haste. Haste claimed he shot the unarmed teenager because he saw Graham reach in the waistband of his pants. After a search of the apartment, police found no weapon. Police officers chased Graham into his home where they claimed they saw Graham being part of a drug deal. Police confronted Graham in the bathroom where he tried to flush down the toilet a bag of marijuana, when Haste fired on him.
Haste was later indicted on manslaughter charges in 2012, only to have a judge dismiss them due to the prosecution improperly instructing the grand jury. The district attorney told the grand jury to disregard police testimony from other officers that they alerted Haste over the radio about Graham being armed with a gun. The case was then taken to a second grand jury who declined to re-indict Haste. According to the Associated Press, Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are currently conducting an investigation to determine if Graham’s civil rights were violated. New York Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci released a statement saying:
This was a tragic case. After evaluating all the facts, and consulting with key stakeholders such as the NYPD, it was determined that settling the matter was in the best interest of the city.