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Cop pleads not guilty in Ramarley Graham shooting

Special to AmNews | , Hannington Dia | , Ja'Peth Toulson | 6/14/2012, 2:42 p.m.
Richard Haste, the officer who fatally shot Ramarley Graham in February, was arraigned at the...
Cop pleads not guilty in Ramarley Graham shooting

The choice of City Hall as the location to protest the shooting may have alienated some who felt the community should speak out in more areas of color, but it served a point, according to Stop Stop and Frisk organizer Jose LaSalle.

"It's time for us to bring it to this type of, what I say the 'hood, because this is a tourist area. The people here could actually get an understanding of what's going on, because the Ramarley case has been swept underneath the rug," LaSalle said. "There are a lot of people, especially in this area, who don't know about Ramarley Graham and what happened, because the media exposed it for a little bit and then they swept it under the rug."

The correlation to another shooting, that of a certain Black youth down in Florida, was quickly made during the assembly. Holding a sign saying, "Hey, Christine Quinn: Where's your hoodie and outrage at the murder of NYC's boy, Ramarley Graham?" Leigh Golterman cited what she believes is the potential mayoral candidate's two-faced position on the issue.

"Christine Quinn was so visible when Trayvon Martin was killed; she was out on the front steps of City Hall with her hoodie, all angry about the death of Trayvon Martin," the Manhattan resident charged. "Meanwhile, we have a boy--a New York boy--killed up in the Bronx, and she's silent. She doesn't want to go against the police because it's an election year. We've got a boy dead, and she's not saying anything."

Led by a banner with quotes from African-American leaders, the procession circled the small area next to the Brooklyn Bridge chanting, "We are Ramarley!" and "Mayor Bloomberg's got to go!" People also took turns on a bullhorn letting passersby know about the case, all the while being shadowed by NYPD officers watching in the background.

"It's a hard thing to deal with," said Constance Malcolm, Graham's mother. "We try to take it one day at a time, but there's days when it's very difficult. There's days when I can't even get up. I hear kids outside playing, and Ramarley comes to mind--that's what he should be doing, not laying up in a cemetery at 18, all because of a police officer who rushed to judgment and I lost my child."

Malcolm says officers must work with Black and Hispanic youth to better relations between the two parties and prevent further deaths from police violence.

"The cops themselves have to try to interact with these people in the community," she said. "You can't come in and just take over a block or a community without interacting with the people. You don't live in the area but you police the area, and you don't get to know these people. Not everybody's a criminal. We do have working people. They just need to be more sensitive to what they do to people."