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Manslaughter charges against NYPD officer dismissed

By Kristen Kiraly, CNN
updated 8:13 PM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
NYPD officer Richard Haste was accused in the death of Ramarley Graham, 18, during a chase in 2012.
NYPD officer Richard Haste was accused in the death of Ramarley Graham, 18, during a chase in 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Judge throws out manslaughter indictment against NYPD Officer Richard Haste
  • Haste was accused in the death of Ramarley Graham, 18, during a chase in 2012
  • The prosecution misled the grand jury about police communications, the judge says

New York (CNN) -- A Bronx Supreme Court Judge dismissed on Wednesday the manslaughter indictment against New York Police Officer Richard Haste, who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in 2012.

Judge Steven Barrett threw out the case based on instructions given by the prosecution to the grand jury regarding communications among officers before the shooting, attorneys on both sides of the case confirmed.

"The whole defense against Officer Haste is, what his state of mind was prior to discharging his weapon one time," said Stuart London, Haste's attorney.

The original indictment alleges that Haste acted "recklessly" and ultimately killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham while "acting with intent to cause serious physical injury ... by shooting him."

"Officer Haste's actions were formulated by information given by other officers at the scene who said the individual he was chasing was armed," London said. "So his state of mind was, this person is dangerous."

In dismissing the case against Haste, Barrett said: "In effect the grand jury was told, by both commission and omission, that the communications of the other officers to Officer Haste were not relevant. That's my conclusion in reading this instruction, and that is error," CNN affiliate NY1 reported.

"My ruling does not end this case," the judge added.

After Barrett read his decision, Constance Malcolm, Graham's mother, yelled, "He killed my child!"

"It cannot be said more forcefully that we disagree with the court," a statement issued by the Bronx District Attorney's Office said.

The district attorney's office will now decide whether it will appeal this decision or present the case to the grand jury again.

"This is a long road and we are certainly gratified that the system is fair," London said. "We are ready to testify again, if the district attorney chooses to represent to the jury, because Officer Haste feels justified in his actions."

The charges against Haste stemmed from an incident in the Bronx on February 2, 2012, when, police say, investigators observed a young man now believed to be Graham acting suspiciously. When police approached, they say, the man fled, eventually running into a three-family home.

Police say investigators pursued the young man into his house, where a struggle occurred. Haste fired one shot and hit Graham in the chest as he barricaded himself in the bathroom.

Graham's family said he was shot as his grandmother and his 6-year-old brother looked on.

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