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Former NYPD Officer Who Shot, Killed Unarmed Black Teen Speaks Out

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The mother of an unarmed black teenager who was shot to death in his bathroom by a white NYPD officer said she is frustrated the officer was allowed to resign before he could be fired for official misconduct.

Constance Malcolm says there's no justice for her son, Ramarley Graham, and she's appalled by how the Police Department and city government have treated Officer Richard Haste.

"Five years later, again I'm standing here with a slap in the face," she told reporters Monday morning. "Same disrespect over and over for five years."

"Where's my son's justice?" she asked.

A deep scarring wound has been opened back up after learning the NYPD officer who shot and killed her unarmed teenage son in 2012 was allowed to resign before the likely fate of being fired.

Surrounded by supporters, Malcolm was emotional talking about the loss -- with anger directed at City Hall -- allowing Richard Haste to walk away from the job before the police commissioner could officially pull his badge from him.

CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer tried to get the mayor's reaction directly at a Wall Street event, but he was not taking questions.

CBS2's Jessica Layton spoke with the now ex-cop outside his Bronx home Monday night.

"It's pretty much what it is," he said. "It's the route I chose, I chose to go out on my terms."

Haste has been on modified duty since the 2012 fatal shooting, fighting for his job along the way until now. After a judge ruled he used poor tactical judgement and should be fired, he filed paperwork for his own resignation Sunday.

Three years ago, Malcolm appeared with Mayor Bill de Blasio as he was running for office promising police reform, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported. Today, she said, she feels used.

"If it's up to me, he won't get another term in this city, and I think the whole New York City should be appalled by this decision," she said.

In a statement Sunday, Malcolm said Haste "should have been in prison, but instead of even firing him, the de Blasio administration just let him resign."

"This is just another example that the de Blasio administration doesn't care about justice and accountability," she said.

Haste was brought on departmental charges for demonstrating "poor judgment.'' He was accused of not taking obvious steps to defuse a fatal standoff that ended in Graham's 2012 death inside the teen's own bathroom, as his grandmother and little brother looked on in horror.

Administrative Judge Rosemarie Maldonado found on Friday that Haste should be fired from the department.

Technically, Haste had time to go over the findings before they would be presented to police Commissioner James O'Neill, who has the final say, but Haste resigned instead. The commissioner had not yet officially ruled, but "has fully concurred with the findings and recommendations of the trial commissioner,'' according to a statement from the department late Sunday.

In a statement, de Blasio said in part, that, "nothing can take away the profound pain left after his (Graham's) loss, but I hope the conclusion of this difficult process brings some measure of justice to those who loved him.

"The NYPD disciplinary trial of Richard Haste ended with the right decision: termination," the mayor said.

For de Blasio, who has walked a political tightrope between cops and minority communities, the case is a political quagmire, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported. The feelings of those whose relatives have been the victims of alleged police abuse resonate among his voter base.

"Mayor de Blasio, you show us again time after time again that black lives don't matter to you," Malcolm said.

The aunt of Akai Gurley, an unarmed man slain in a housing project stairwell after Officer Peter Liang's gun apparently misfired, is also angry about the Haste case.

"Your son is black. Your daughter is black," Hertencia Petersen said, directing her comments at the mayor. "Had it been Dante or your daughter, how would you feel?"

Late Monday afternoon, a mayoral spokesman explained that unionized employees have the right to respond to a department verdict before a penalty can be imposed. But he insisted that the process worked because Haste " is no longer a police officer."

Haste initially faced a criminal manslaughter charge in the death, but the case was dismissed because of a procedural error. A new grand jury declined to indict, and federal prosecutors also declined to bring charges.

"He was exonerated by both a state and federal grand jury,'' said Haste's lawyer, Stuart London. "The New York City Police Department Firearms Discharge Review Board found the shooting to be justified. All of officer Haste's actions were performed in good faith. He never should have been forced to resign based on tactics alone.''

Graham's shooting death came before a spate of highly publicized killings by police, such as the deaths of Michael Brown, Walter Scott and Eric Garner, that helped propel the topic into the spotlight. But Graham's family and friends have been a constant public presence over the past five years, demanding justice for the 18-year-old.

Malcolm on Sunday also blasted the department for failing to schedule disciplinary proceedings for other officers involved.

"Every step of the way, the mayor and NYPD have dragged their heels and have refused to hold officers accountable for murdering my son," she said. "They made me take off work to sit through a trial while, in the end, they let Richard Haste off the hook and are continuing to give the other officers responsible for killing Ramarley and other misconduct every opportunity to escape accountability."

In his testimony during the departmental trial, Haste, now 35, recounted how he got out of his police van during a drug probe in Graham's Bronx neighborhood and followed the teenager, suspected on police radio chatter of having a gun, into his apartment building.

After Haste and his partner broke down the door of Graham's home, the officer said he saw Graham sidestep into a bathroom, and he leaned inside to face him.

Haste testified that he yelled, "Show me your hands!'' but Graham instead reached deeper into his pants and yelled obscenities.

"I thought I was about to be shot,'' Haste said. "I expected to be dead.''

Haste told the Daily News that Graham's mother has every right to be mad, adding he'd like to tell the family what happened.

"Nothing he could say to me is going to take away my pain," Malcom said Monday. "When he ran into that precinct and resigned, he should have called first, and he didn't. He has no remorse."

Despite Haste's resignation, he will not be given a permit to carry a concealed weapon like many retired officers, and he will not receive a pension from the NYPD, CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported.

It is possible Haste could secure a job as a police officer in a different county -- he is not prohibited from applying. It would be up to the hiring department to make its own decision.

The family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $3.9 million.

When asked Monday if there was anything he would say to the family of Ramarley Graham if given the opportunity, Haste said he didn't think "the public venue is the correct venue for that."

"I would be happy to avail myself to them personally if they have any questions or issues," he continued. "I'd be happy to address that one-on-one."

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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