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AROUND THE STATE

Wage hike supporters pray for bill's passage

ALBANY (AP) -- Supporters of raising New York's minimum wage are turning to prayer in the face of a political roadblock.

More than two dozen clergy members and progressive activists marched Wednesday in Albany, praying and singing hymns at the ornate Million Dollar Staircase in the Capitol.

They called on Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who says he supports increasing the wage, to pressure his allies in the Senate's Republican majority. They've refused to debate the bill. Senate Republicans say raising the wage would lead to job cuts and harm New York's slow and fragile economic recovery.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, still said his bill is a top priority, though he would need Senate approval for it to become law.

Silver wants to raise the wage to $8.50 an hour from $7.25 now.

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Officer indicted in suspect's death

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York Police Department Officer Richard Haste was indicted Wednesday in the death of an unarmed drug suspect.

Haste, 31, surrendered Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in a courtroom filled with other officers, relatives of victim Ramarley Graham, 18, and their supporters. "Ramarley was only 18," his mother, Constance Malcolm, said outside court.

As Haste left the courtroom after posting $50,000 bail, dozens of officers applauded him.

The February shooting stemmed from an NYPD investigation of a persistent drug trade in Graham's Bronx neighborhood. Police said investigators identified Graham as a potential suspect and radioed to other officers that Graham appeared to be armed with a pistol.

After Graham ducked into his home, the officers found a back entrance, climbed some stairs and broke down the door to a second-floor apartment where Graham lived, police said.

Haste yelled for Graham to hold up his hands, and when the teen reached for his waistband, the officer fired, according to Haste's attorney, Stuart London.