February 2, 2013

One Year Later and Still No Justice for Ramarley Graham

January 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Ramarley Graham
Ramarley Graham

February 2, 2012. Like so many Black youth before him, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham is cut down by a cop who had a story to justify the murder before Ramarley’s family even knew he was dead. Narcotics detectives barge into a home in the Bronx. They gotta come up with something to explain shooting a young kid, close range, dead, in the bathroom. First they say Graham ran into the building fleeing from the officers. But there’s a problem. Surveillance cameras show Graham walking to his apartment, taking out his keys, opening up the door, and casually walking in. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at first says Graham “appeared to be armed.” But this presents another problem for the police—because no weapon was ever recovered. They didn’t have a warrant. But they kick down the door. Enter, guns drawn. In a matter of seconds, a death sentence is carried out—for no reason other than being young and Black and therefore, in the eyes of the police, suspicious.

This murder was so outrageous: The police pursued Ramarley into his own home, busted through the front door, went into the bathroom and shot him point blank... and then made up a whole story about how Ramarley was runnning into the building and was armed, all of which was clearly shown to be a complete lie. All this hit people hard—and bitter anger expressed itself in ongoing protest. Hundreds came to the funeral. Up to 200 people came to demonstrations outside the 47th NYPD precinct. People showed up with T-shirts that said, “U C MY HANDS—NO GUN—Please don’t shoot” and signs declaring, “I am Ramarley Graham.” Outside the home where Ramarley Graham was killed, a vigil was held every Thursday (the day he was killed) for 18 weeks—to represent the 18 short years Graham lived.

June 11, 2012. NYPD cop Richard Haste was indicted on manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting of Ramarley Graham. Haste pleaded not guilty and was released after posting $50,000 bail. This is the first time an NYPD cop has been indicted on a charge stemming from an on-duty shooting since 2007 when three detectives were charged with the murder of Sean Bell. Those officers were later acquitted. When Haste walked out of the courthouse he was applauded by his fellow cops and supporters. As Revolution newspaper said at the time: THIS IS WHY WE CALL THEM PIGS!

April 2012. Ramarley Graham’s grandmother, Gwendolyn Henry, was there at the Manhattan Courthouse for the opening day of the trial of 20 defendants arrested in Harlem for civil disobedience to STOP “Stop & Frisk.” She told Revolution newspaper: “The reason I’m here is because of the injustice that is going on with our young Black and Latino children. This stop-and-frisk is nothing but something that has been planned to destroy our young children. And I am here to speak up about it because we are too silent. It has been going on for too long, too long. So we have to start and make a movement, this has to stop, this cannot go on.”

December 11, 2012. About 50 people chanted and held signs outside the building as another 50 protesters, including Ramarley Graham’s parents, were inside the courthouse for the proceeding involving NYPD cop Richard Haste. A judge adjourned the case to March 26, 2013. Haste faces up to 25 years if found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter charges. Constance Malcolm, Ramarley Graham’s mother, said, “We’re going to be here every day [Haste is in court] to have a presence.” We must find ways to fight for justice for all the victims of murder at the hands of the police and racist vigilantes. And we need to link that to building a determined mass movement against mass incarceration.


Information from the leaflet issued by organizers:

Justice for Ramarley

1st Memorial for Young Ramarley Graham's Short Life
749 East 229th Street, Bronx, NY 10466
Saturday February 2, 2013, 2:00 pm
for a Rally and Candlelight Vigil

Ramarley Graham was an 18-year-old, unarmed Black male who was murdered by NYPD Officer Richard Haste in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother in the bathroom of his family's home on February 2, 2012. The NYPD Officer, Richard Haste, who executed Ramarley was charged with manslaughter, but other members of his team that were involved in the illegal entry of Graham's apartment have not been charged.

ramarleyscall@gmail.com * 347-903-5379

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