Monday, Richard Haste to Daily News that he’s been wanting to speak to the family of Ramarley Graham since the fatal shooting happened on February 2, 2012. But, he says DCPI just won’t let him.
Haste is the NYPD officer who shot and killed Ramarley Graham in the bathroom of his Bronx apartment. He alleged that the teen appeared to be reaching for a gun in his waistband. Originally, Haste was charged with manslaughter, but the charges were later dropped.
Graham’s family filed a lawsuit against New York City, which was settled in 2015 for $3.9 million. The NYPD conducted its own internal investigation. In 2017, Haste was found guilty of all charges related to the killing of Ramarley Graham. He chose to resign, rather than get fired.
Now, the former NYPD cop says he understands the family’s anger, saying the unarmed teen’s mother has “every right to be mad.”
One day after his resignation, 35-year-old Richard Haste says he’s been wishing he could speak to the slain teen’s family since the shooting first happened. But, DCPI (NYPD’s communications department) won’t allow him to speak publicly about the shooting. He spoke to press outside his Throgs Neck home:
“I’ve been wanting to talk to the family since day one. I’ve been restricted by DCPI. You want to speak but you can’t.”
“She’s got every right to be mad,” he added, referring to Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm. “I felt like they (the family) deserved to hear what happened (from me).”
But Malcolm wasn’t interested. Haste had his opportunity to speak at a departmental trial regarding the shooting, she said. He was found guilty Friday of having “exercised poor tactical judgement leading up to the discharge of his firearm.”
“Richard Haste sat through a trial and lied up there. Now you want to meet with me? That was your opportunity, on that stand. So, no, I won’t meet with him,” Malcolm said. “Nothing he could say to me is gonna take away that pain.”
Haste said his supervisors in the 47th Precinct had recognized he was an “effective cop” and assigned him to the narcotics enforcement unit.
Police had suspected Graham, 18, of participating in a drug deal when Haste followed him into his home, believing the teen was armed.
Haste fatally shot Graham in front of his grandmother and little brother.
Haste said he knew the risks involved with the job — and was well aware of other controversial police shootings around the country before he himself killed an unarmed man.
“I don’t want to be sitting here and saying ‘oh poor me.’ That’s not the case. I took this job, I understood the risks, I came on after all those cases you hear about,” he said. “You just never think it’s going to be you.”
Haste was found guilty Friday of departmental charges that found he “exercised poor tactical judgement leading up to the discharge of his firearm.”
Malcolm was outraged Haste was allowed to resign. She said he should be fired outright and lamented that two other cops involved in the tragedy remain on the force.
“Mayor de Blasio has once again shown his unwillingness to hold police accountable to our communities with his administration giving deference to Richard Haste in allowing him to resign,” said Malcolm, who will hold a press conference about the resignation Monday morning.
Haste expressed frustration with the NYPD’s press team, as well as the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, for preventing him from speaking out.
“The (police department) doesn’t speak to the community and they isolate the cop. They make the cops afraid to deal with the public they signed up to serve,” Haste said. “Everyone comes on this job to help people out, the vast majority. The morale of the cops get destroyed because they don’t feel the administration has their backs and you create this divide.”
He said he and the PBA had “gone separate ways numerous times,” but did not provide specifics.
“They’re like the mafia when it comes to dealing with the department,” he said of the PBA.
He added that in September 2016 he discussed his resignation with Commissioner Bill Bratton and Chief of Department James O’Neill. Bratton was eager to resolve the controversy before leaving the NYPD. Haste said Bratton and O’Neill assured him he’d receive his pension if he quit. Haste forfeited his pension as part of his resignation, a source said.
“I said, I don’t care about the pension, I don’t care about the money, give it to the family so they can have it or give to a charity of their choosing,” Haste said.
A Bronx grand jury indicted Haste in Graham’s death, but the judge threw out the June 2012 indictment because of a legal technicality.
A second grand jury decided not to indict him.
In 2015, the city settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Graham’s family for $3.9 million.
“While the New York City Police Department aggressively — and publicly — sought Richard Haste’s termination from the force, he resigned upon learning the findings of his disciplinary trial and the trial commissioner’s recommended penalty,” de Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said.
“At the end of the day, the process ultimately worked: Mr. Haste is no longer a police officer.”