Newly surrendered internal New York Police Department documents proved that cops have lied about unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham‘s fatal police shooting since his death, Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm said.
Several false statements were made about officer Richard Haste, 36, who killed Graham, 18, in a bathroom in his grandmother’s home on February 2, 2012, according to the NYPD papers turned over to Graham’s mother as part of a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit. Haste and Officer John McLoughlin, 34, had reportedly followed the teen into the home on suspicion of drugs and thought he was armed. They also claimed a fight and chase had happened involving Graham, details that were fabricated to cover up wrongdoing, Malcolm said.
“None of that happened,” Malcolm told the New York Daily News. “The NYPD immediately put out false information to justify the killing.”
A grief-stricken Malcolm has been fighting for justice for her slain son since his shooting. Activists have stood in solidarity with her over the years, some of which have called out misconduct in NYPD disciplinary cases. A noticeable pattern of officers avoiding punishment after being charged with lying on official documents has emerged, noted the Daily News.
Inaccurate statements made about victims of color distort public perception — a huge problem that Malcolm has confronted over the years.
“Maybe he was running because he was guilty of something — he was running because he was doing something — that’s very damaging,” she said, referring to people who mistakenly believed that Graham was running from cops. “They never retracted that lie. It leads to a false narrative.”
Initial reports of the encounter mentioned a fight, which was proved false within 24 hours of the shooting by former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who was named in Graham’s family’s lawsuit alleging the NYPD improperly trains officers, The Guardian reported. But yet, the false fight narrative reappeared on a March 4, 2012 crime scene unit report, with no indication that the cops’ account had changed.
Also, departmental trials for Haste and two other officers involved in the botched bust revealed there was no foot chase. Crime scene unit Detective Paul Brown initially said there was a chase.
None of the officers who responded to the scene were charged with lying or making false official statements, the Daily News reported. Haste resigned before he was fired after his departmental trial, and McLoughlin only lost 45 vacation days and was placed on dismissal probation for a year.
The lies, if not stopped, lead to more lies.
“When the brass allow fabrication as to whether there was a struggle in a case like this, it just encourages police to fabricate more evidence,” Gideon Oliver, Malcolm’s attorney, said.