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Family Settles Suit with City for $3.9m After Cop Walks Free in Shooting

In case you’re in a hurry, here’s the express version of this story:

— African-American teen killed by a white cop;
— Grand jury won’t indict, cop walks free;
— Family wins wrongful death lawsuit;
— Taxpayers lay out $3.9 million to pay for their killer cops on the loose.

Read, repeat.

And now, the details.

The family of slain Bronx teen Ramarley Graham accepted $3.9 million in taxpayer money from the city to settle their wrongful death lawsuit.

Police had claimed that Graham was suspected of purchasing an amount of marijuana small enough that its possession is now decriminalized in New York.

Cops chased him into his without a warrant. The cop who shot the teen, Officer Richard Haste, claimed that he had heard over the police radio that Graham was armed. Police officials said Haste mistakenly thought Graham was had a gun. No gun was found.

After Graham was gunned down in his own bathroom, the cops threatened to shoot his grieving grandmother, according to the suit.

“Why did you shoot him? Why you killed him?” the grandmother allegedly asked the officer who had just fired a fatal bullet into her grandson’s chest.

“Get the f*ck away before I have to shoot you, too,” the suit said Haste shouted after pushing the 58-year-old grandmother backward.

The was detained at the local precinct for seven hours and forced to give a statement against her will.

Officer Richard Haste, who fired the fatal shot, was initially indicted for manslaughter, but a judge threw out the case on a legal technicality.

A second grand jury declined to indict the cop.

“This was a tragic case,” said a spokesman for New York City.

An ongoing federal investigation into possible civil rights violations by the NYPD moves into the third year since the killing. The lawsuit itself took two years after the teen’s death to reach settlement.

As best I can tell Officer Haste is still patrolling the streets as I write this.

Read, repeat.

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Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from AmazonFamily Settles Suit with City for $3.9m After Cop Walks Free in Shooting

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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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