New York judge dismisses indictment of officer who shot unarmed teen

Reuters News
Posted: May 15, 2013 2:52 PM

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday threw out an indictment against a New York City police officer charged with manslaughter over the shooting of an unarmed teenager, but prosecutors can present the case again or appeal the decision, lawyers involved in the case said.

Officer Richard Haste was indicted last year in the death of Ramarley Graham, 18, whom Haste said he shot on suspicion that he was armed. The indictment was thrown out because the judge, siding with the defense, said prosecutors gave the grand jury improper instructions.

The instructions, the defense contended, led the grand jury to ignore information Haste received from other officers about whether Graham had a gun.

"The heart of the case is that Officer Haste relied on the communications from fellow officers that (Graham) had a weapon and that information formed his state of mind," said Haste's lawyer Stuart London.

The Bronx District Attorney's Office said it "forcefully" disagreed with the ruling and was deciding whether to appeal the decision or present the case once again to the grand jury.

(Reporting By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Nick Zieminski)