Graham was leaving a bodega near his home in the boro’s Wakefield section February 2, 2012, when undercover narcotics officers began chasing him to his house. Officer Richard Haste fatally shot Graham in his bathroom minutes later. Haste later admitted he thought Graham was adjusting a gun in his waistband — but no weapons were found on Graham’s body.
“Ramarley was 18 years old, kind, generous, and loving,” said Constance Malcolm (pictured top, right of center), describing her son’s qualities to the audience. “My friends would come over and call him ‘dark chocolate,’ because of his skin complexion. His skin was just pure chocolate. He was a loving, fun person.”
Speaking about Haste, Malcolm didn’t hold back, “He shot my son point blank in the chest. I wonder how does he sleep at night, knowing he killed an innocent person that didn’t pose any threat to him.”
Before bursting into tears, Father Franclot Graham (pictured top left of Malcolm), said, “He’s not here [any]more in flesh, but there’s not a day goes by where….”
Watch the memorial’s first few speakers here:
“It pains me to know that as such a young lady, that I have to go through this and face this moment,” shared Jasmine, Ramarley’s girlfriend of four years. “Normally I would have him to talk to, and I don’t have him, and it doesn’t feel the same.”
Jeffrey Emdin, a lawyer for Malcolm and Graham, became deeply involved in the case almost immediately. “I knew Frank for years before this story,” Jeff said. “I got the phone call that night [of Graham’s shooting]. I heard the terror in Frank’s voice. It kinda rocked me to the core, cause this one was personal. I knew the person. I knew the family.”
Watch Nini Ali’s spoken word tribute here:
Families of those killed by police also took center stage, including Carol Gray (pictured below behind Malcolm), who lost son Kimani Gray to a police shooting in Flatbush; Natasha Duncan (pictured below far right), whose sister Shantel Davis was killed by NYPD officers in the same neighborhood; and Kenneth Chamberlain Jr (pictured below, left of Graham), whose father, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., was shot dead by White Plains police officers responding to a false alarm from his medical alert pendent.
Watch Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. speak here:
The event also featured a brief appearance by Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park five.
Though a Bronx judge removed a manslaughter indictment against Haste last May, the family has filed a federal civil suit against New York City and the NYPD, which is still pending. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also reviewing if Haste violated Graham’s rights in the shooting.