BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indict a police officer in the shooting of a Bronx man.
"I am deeply saddened and extremely shocked by today's news of a failure to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. "I am especially sorry for the Graham family, who has seen their quest for justice for their son twice denied.
"The NYPD must now pursue departmental charges against Officer Haste. Whether criminal or not, his reckless actions led to the death of Ramarley Graham, and the police department needs to take a serious look at his qualifications to serve our city," said Diaz.
On February 2, 2012, Officer Richard Haste chased after Graham as part of a drug investigation. The officer cornered Graham in the bathroom and identified himself as a cop. Police officials said Haste opened fire after he mistakenly thought Graham had a gun. A bag of marijuana was discovered near the body and investigators believe Graham was trying to flush it down the toilet.
Haste was charged in the shooting but a Bronx judge tossed the charges because prosecutors made a mistake when presenting the charges to the grand jury.
"We are surprised and shocked by the Grand Jury’s finding of no criminal liability in the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson. "We are saddened for the family of the deceased young man and still believe that the court’s dismissal of the original indictment was overly cautious.”