In prior years I have taught courses on the history of crime to members of the police force and thus feel a certain kinship to those who risk their lives in the cause of law and order. I would hate to be in a situation in which the wrong decision of my part might cost me either my or someone else’s life. The recent shooting incident by New York City police officer Richard Haste confronts this dilemma.
Mr. Haste is being charged with manslaughter in the case of Ramarley Graham. Prosecutor Donald Levin charges Haste with failing to perform his duties as a police officer and wants to send him to jail. According to Levin, “Graham was boxed in the bathroom. He had nowhere to go. Officer Haste consciously and deliberately pulled the trigger.”
I do not excuse the shooting, most probably Officer Haste today is rethinking his decision. He should be prosecuted. We also must remember that when society sends women and men into harm’s way, there will be mistakes.