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Mother of Jamaican teen killed in New York angry at Attorney's Office

Published:Wednesday | March 9, 2016 | 3:51 AM

The mother of the Jamaican teen who was shot and killed by a New York City police officer in 2012 has reacted angrily to the decision of the Manhattan United States (US) District Attorney's Office not to pursue federal charges against her son's killer.

Eighteen-year-old Ramarley Graham was chased and fatally shot inside his Bronx home by police Richard Haste who said he thought the teen was reaching for a gun. No gun was recovered.

Since 2014 US Attorney Preet Bharara's office had been investigating whether Graham's civil rights were violated and today announced its decision that there was "insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution."

"To prove such a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statute, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids," a statement from Bharara's office said.

"This is the highest standard of intent imposed by law and is different from and higher than the intent standard under the relevant state statute," the statement continued.

The New York Post reports that after a 90-minute meeting with Bharara and other Justice Department Officials, Graham's mother Constance Malcolm described the decision as a "slap in the face."

"This is sending the wrong message. In your own home, you are not safe anymore," the newspaper said Malcolm told reporters through tears.

It also quoted the teen's father Frank Graham as saying that the family was hoping the US Attorney's Office "would lead by example, which is by convening a Grand Jury and let us have our day in court."

Haste was initially indicted by a Bronx grand jury on a charge of manslaughter, but that decision was overturned because of a technicality. The Bronx District Attorney's Office later refused to convene another grand jury.

The family has since settled a US$3.9m federal law suit against the city.

The New City Police Department has since indicated that it will now commence internal proceedings against Haste and Frank Graham says his family wants the police officer fired.