A new campaign has been launched demanding justice for an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a New York Police Department officer back in 2012.
Being called “Justice for #RamarleyGraham,” the parents of the slain teen believe he was killed in cold blood and are now demanding that the Department of Justice bring charges against Officer Richard Haste, but as always there’s two sides to every story.
Graham was spotted in front of a NYC bodega that was being staked out by Haste and other NYPD officers because of frequent drug dealing activity. He allegedly partook in a deal and when Haste tried to apprehend him he fled on foot, so Officer Haste pursued him. During the pursuit it was called out over the radio that Graham may be armed since one of the officers claimed he saw the handle of a weapon. Further communication over the police radios reinforced the belief that the fleeing suspect was armed.
[Officer Richard Haste]
Graham fled to his home where he ran inside and attempted to hide however Haste followed him, cornering him in a bathroom. Graham refused to come out so Haste kicked the door in, then Graham was said to have been reaching for something in his belt. Haste yelled “Gun! Gun!” and fired his weapon, hitting Graham in the chest and killing him.
As it turns out, Graham wasn’t armed and what he was reaching for was a bag of marijuana in his belt that he was presumably about to flush down the toilet.
Haste believed that the teen was armed and that his life was in danger. After chasing Graham on foot and into a home, he still said that he didn’t want to use his weapon on the man, but felt that he had no choice in the matter. He also claims that have yelled to Graham to show his hands, to which he refused and instead reached for his belt.
Ramarley Graham’s parents, Constance Malcolm and father Franclot Graham, say that their son is the victim of a trigger happy officer who didn’t exercise proper judgment before shooting. They say that Officer Haste “violently” broke down a door in their home without a warrant, and then murdered their son in cold blood.
Constance, Ramarley's mother honors him. "We shouldn't forget that Ramarley was 18 and unarmed. We need justice now" pic.twitter.com/lzGWjuRo6j
— CPR Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) April 16, 2014
They’ve penned a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder as well as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, claiming that their son was racially profiled and his civil rights were violated.
A portion of the letter reads:
“As is so often the case involving Black victims of deadly police violence, Ramarley’s killer has not been brought to justice by the Bronx County District Attorney’s office. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a duty to protect our community against racial profiling and the violence that it creates, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so [emphasis mine].”
The reason I emphasized the last part of that phrase is because Haste was charged with first degree murder and his case brought before the grand jury, twice. In the first case the grand jury indicted him however the indictment was overturned by a judge who said that there was prosecutorial error.
The case was the brought before a second grand jury. After they saw the evidence and considered the circumstances they refused to indict Haste, and the case was then dropped.
In spite of a second grand jury dismissing the case, Graham’s family still believes that justice hasn’t been served for their son and they’re going to continue to push the issue until someone listens.
They have a page set up on the Color of Change website that’s soliciting donations and has the letter, which is actually a petition of sorts. They also reached out to, and gotten coverage from, many left-wing publications such as the Huffington Post and SOHH.com.
Do you think that Graham was murdered in cold blood? Let us know with a comment!