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According to Ryan Devereaux in the Guardian, the judge presiding over the case against the police officer who shot dead Bronx teen Ramarley Graham is “officially concerned” that legal errors occurred prior to the indictment of former NYPD officer Richard Haste.
Judge Steven Barrett expressed concern having reviewed the minutes of the grand jury proceedings that led to Haste’s indictment. In an incident that helped fuel widespread anti-NYPD sentiment and bolstered the movement challenging stop and frisk, Graham was shot dead in his grandmother’s Bronx bathroom. Police reports that Graham had been armed were challenged when no weapon was found at the scene. Haste has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter.
As Devereaux reported, Judge Barrett’s concern resides in the fact that grand jurors, who moved to indict Haste, “may have received erroneous instructions during their consideration of the case.” Via the Guardian:
Barrett said passages contained in the minutes indicated jurors were told to disregard whether Haste was under the impression that Graham was armed. “I have reviewed this charge very closely,” Barrett said. The judge added that the question of Haste’s justification is “central to this case,” noting that in Haste’s pursuit of a suspect he allegedly believed was armed, “there might be a different measure of reasonableness” with respect to the use of deadly force.
Barrett’s concerns do, however, mean that the grand jury process may have to start all over again. “Speaking outside the courthouse Tuesday, Royce Russell, attorney for the Graham family, said, ‘Clearly the family is disappointed, in that justice is being delayed’,” Devereaux reported.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.