FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 18, 2017
Contact: Yul-san Liem, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347.676.1878
Justice Committee Statement on Lack of Civilian Witness Testimony in Haste Trial and NYPD Omissions and Lies
Having observed the first two days of the departmental trial of NYPD Officer Richard Haste, who killed Ramarley Graham on February 2, 2012, the Justice Committee issued the following statement from Co-Director Loyda Colon:
For the last two days the Justice Committee has attended the department trial of NYPD Officer Richard Haste along with Ramarley Graham's family and organizations and concerned New Yorkers from across the city. We are deeply disturbed by what we have – and have not heard – in the courtroom.
There is no dispute that on February 2, 2012 several NYPD officers of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit (SNEU) from the 47th precinct made a series of decisions that led to the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. However, the version of the story that has come out during Haste’s trial is riddled with inaccuracies, omissions and outright lies.
During the first two days of trial, we heard that Haste gained entrance to the first floor of the house where Ramarley lived by getting consent from an adult. In fact, it was an 8-year-old who let Haste in after he pointed a gun in the child’s face.
Officer Chris Crocitto, who was part of the SNEU, testified that he had brief and cordial conversation with a woman on the third floor of the house. In fact, Crocitto and another officer on the scene pointed guns at this woman, who is the building’s landlord, causing her to drop the towel she was using to cover herself and terrifying her so much that she urinated on herself.
In court today the NYPD painted a picture of a dangerous confrontation between Haste and Ramarley, yet Ramarley was unarmed and not committing a crime. At the time Haste killed Ramarley, Ramarley had moved to protect his grandmother, Patricia Hartley, who was also in the hallway of their second floor home at the time of the shooting. The bullet Haste fired into Ramarley’s chest flew so close to Ms. Hartley that she thought she had been hit. No one in the One Police Plaza courtroom, whether they were testifying or asking or questions, has mentioned Ms. Hartley’s presence. Nor did anyone mention that Ramarley’s 6-year-old brother was also a witness to and endangered by Haste’s actions. There has also been no mention of the fact that after killing Ramarley, Haste pointed his gun and Ms. Hartley and threatened to shoot her as well.
These are the facts of this case, as told by civilians who were there, yet no civilian witnesses have been called and no civilian testimony has been used. It is as if the NYPD is talking about a different incident.
During the trial, we learned that Andrew Jarvis and Tyrone Horne – the officers who instigated the incident by suspecting Ramarley because he was a young black man “walking with a purpose” and “adjusting his pants” and by incorrectly claiming he was armed – have been promoted to the rank of detective. It has been widely reported that Haste has received over $30k in pay raises since murdering Ramarley. Apparently, the City is rewarding officers who profile, break the law and unjustly take lives, rather than holding them accountable. This practice allows and encourages abusive policing to continue and makes our city unsafe.
We continue to stand with Ramarley’s mother and family and demand that Haste and all of the officers who profiled Ramarley, illegally entered his home, murdered him, threatened and assaulted his mother and grandmother, detained Ms. Hartley for seven hours without access to her attorney, lost Ramarley’s body for four days, and engaged other misconduct to cover-up NYPD wrong-doing be fired. While firing these officers is not the justice Ramarley and his family deserve, it is paramount that these individuals not be allowed to remain on the force and it would be a small indication that the City is beginning to take police accountability and the lives of New Yorkers of color seriously.