The New York City police officer who fatally shot unarmed Black teenager Ramarley Graham resigned from the NYPD Sunday night after learning that a departmental trial found him guilty, WABC-TV reports.
Police sources told the New York Daily News that the now former officer, Richard Haste, walked into the NYPD’s fleet services building in Queens and quit the police force before Police Commissioner James O’Neill fired him.
“He can walk in, say I quit, and walk out the door. It’s as simple as that. We can’t do anything to him. We take his ID, we ask him to sign his resignation exit interview form, and that’s it,” the source told the Daily News.
On Friday, the Department Trial Commissioner found Haste guilty, saying he “exercised poor tactical judgment leading up to the discharge of his firearm” and “acted with intent to cause serious physical injury leading to the death” of the 18-year-old Bronx teen.
A courtroom jury has never decided on Haste’s guilt or innocence. A grand jury initially indicted him, but a judge dismissed the case because of a procedural error. A second grand jury and federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against him.
During a drug investigation in February 2012, Haste chased Graham into his home and shot him in the bathroom, in the presence of the teen’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement praised the disciplinary trial’s outcome:
“Ramarley Graham was a son, a friend and, most importantly, a young man with his whole life left to live. Nothing can take away the profound pain left after his loss, but I hope the conclusion of this difficult process brings some measure of justice to those who loved him.”
But Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, said in a statement that Haste escaped justice and blamed the mayor.
“My son Ramarley was gunned down and murdered by NYPD Officer Richard Haste over 5 years ago. Richard Haste should have been in prison but instead of even firing him, the de Blasio administration let him resign. This is just another example that the de Blasio administration doesn’t care about justice and accountability. Every step of the way, the Mayor and NYPD have dragged their heels and have refused to hold officers accountable for murdering my son.”
New York City settled the family’s wrongful death lawsuit for $3.9 million.