THROGS NECK, Bronx (WABC) -- The white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Ramarley Graham is speaking out to Eyewitness News.
Richard Haste resigned from the NYPD to avoid behind fired. He says he doesn't think he did anything wrong when he fired his weapon, but admits the shooting haunts him, and has left him with many sleepless nights.
Haste says he 'overwhelmed and surprised' by all of the attention he has gotten since resigning from his job as an NYPD officer just two days ago. He says all he ever wanted to do was be a cop from the Bronx. Now, all of that is gone. He was very candid and clear about what happened back in 2012, when he and other officers chased Ramarley Graham into the 18-year-old's home and killed Graham, believing he had a gun. There was no weapon.
Seconds before the gunfire, Haste tells Eyewitness News that he believed he was going to die, and relied on his training.
"A man with a gun, standing behind the sheet rock wall doesn't stop bullets, so we weren't necessarily safe at that door," he says.
Haste was not charged criminally, but following a departmental trial Friday, he learned he had been found guilty of all charges, and there was a recommendation to fire him. Sunday he abruptly quit, a move that made Graham's mother and others furious. Haste told Eyewitness News he did a lot of reflecting, and felt he only had one option.
"I just wanted to go quietly instead of making it a big thing, you know, I understood this is where they wanted to go, and I just wanted to put it to bed. That's all," Haste said.
Haste says he didn't think anyone would care if he resigned.
"I didn't tell anyone, I just walked in. I didn't tell the PBA, I didn't tell anyone. I have very few friends and family," he adds.
Haste says his door is always open for Ramarley Graham's family, and that he would answer any questions about the night he shot him in 2012. However, he was shocked to learn so many were furious by his move to resign, including Graham's mother, Constance Malcolm.
"No, I won't meet with him. Nothing he could say to me is going to take away my pain. When he ran to that precinct and resigned, he should have called first," said Malcolm.
Graham's family also lashed out at Mayor Bill de Blasio for how the situation was handled - something that Haste understands.
Haste hopes to one day be a mental health counselor.
Ex-NYPD officer Richard Haste to Ramarley Graham's family: 'My door is always open'
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