It’s been almost a month since a Bronx judge threw out an indictment against NYPD officer Richard Haste, the man who shot and killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham (pictured below), on a technicality. Thursday afternoon, Graham’s family, friends, and supporters met at the house where the teen was gunned down.
Due to a small turnout and inclement weather, original plans for a rally to the 47th Precinct turned into a public speakout against the judge’s decision and the system that encouraged it.
“It’s low numbers, but the number doesn’t make a difference, you know,” Constance Malcolm (pictured far right), Ramarley’s mother, told the crowd. “Even if we have two people, we [will] still be out here, fighting for justice for Ramarley.”
“It’s hard enough to get an indictment, and for them to do that [throw it out], I look at it like, it’s a detour. We'[re] [going to] find some way to go around it, and we'[re] gonna get justice. No matter how long it takes, we’re gonna get justice.”
Yul-san Liem, a member of anti-police violence movement the Justice Committee, saw the smaller crowd as another hurdle in the fight for an indictment.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” she said. “We’ve been doing actions, telling folks to call, fax, e-mail the D.A., telling them they have to convene a grand jury to indict Richard Haste. The only way they’re gonna do it is if they feel they have no other choice.”
“Going through this struggle, and knowing about other victims of police brutality and racism that we’re dealing with — this system is not made for us,” said Sneferu Boatwright, a Bronx resident who was in the neighborhood when Graham was shot. “This system is just made for the few to thrive [off] the many, which means the many must suffer in this system.”
Watch Constance and others speak out:
“The most important thing we can do is unite with each other and just realize that we’re in this together and that this is not gonna end until we decide that it’s over, until we decide that the next victim is the last one.”
Graham was shot and killed in his bathroom by Officer Haste on February 2, 2012, after he was pursued by Haste and his narcotics unit.
Haste and his fellow officers were reportedly monitoring a local bodega for drug activity, when they allegedly spotted Graham in a drug deal.
Police claim that Graham gave chase once he saw police officers and then refused to put his hands up when commanded to, causing Haste to pull the trigger and end the teen’s life. Graham was allegedly attempting to flush the small purchase of marijuana down the toilet.
But what can be clearly seen on a surveillance tape tells a different story.
If Graham was indeed running from a drug deal gone bad, why is he seen on video calmly entering his home? And while officers are seen running up to the residence and immediately kicking the door down, why did they refuse to follow protocol and announce themselves and then enter Graham’s residence WITHOUT a search warrant?
The Graham family will be holding 14 marches every two weeks throughout the city, a reference to the 14 months it took them to receive charges against Haste. The first official march will take place on June 27th at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 5 p.m.