Mothers of unarmed sons killed by NYPD meet with Inspector General
Khorri Atkinson | 8/14/2014, 4:51 p.m.
“We’re here because there’s no accountability for officers that break the law,” Constance Malcolm said moments before meeting with the NYPD’s inspector general, Philip Eure. “They keep on breaking the law, over and over, every day.”
Her message was to say, “Enough is enough,” and request that the IG’s office launch an investigation into the unjust killings of unarmed Black and Latino youths and the NYPD’s use of deadly force. She was joined by other mothers and relatives whose unarmed love ones were killed by NYPD officers.
“We have to fight for justice,” she said. “No one is standing up for the mothers.”
Malcolm is the mother of Ramarley Graham, an 18-year-old unarmed Bronx man whom was chased into his grandmother’s bathroom from the street and was killed by NYPD officer, Richard Haste, in February 2012. Haste and other narcotics officers who were involved claimed that the teen was acting “suspicious,” and he had a gun. But no weapon was found at the scene. The case was handled by the Bronx District Attorney’s office, and a Bronx grand jury did at first indict Haste for killing Graham. However, the case was later tossed out by a Bronx Supreme Court judge on a technicality.
The two-hour meeting with Eure was organized by the Justice Committee, an NYPD watchdog organization. Relatives represented 10 loved ones who died as a result of alleged police brutality and questionable shootings, dating back 20 years.
Hours after the meeting, the group issued a statement saying that in the “substantive meeting,” the relatives described the ways in which the officers who killed their relatives broke protocol and the problematic investigations that were carried out by the NYPD after the incidents.
“We and the families we work with feel strongly that the IG should investigate the NYPD’s use of excessive and deadly force and its disciplinary procedures—or lack thereof—in these cases,” the statement reads. “The IG told us his office is currently assessing priorities, and he could not say definitively whether such a review would be conducted at this time. However, he did say his office is looking into some excessive force issues. It is our strong hope that the IG will prioritize an investigation into NYPD killings, as we believe a report on findings from it would shed light on why the NYPD continues to unjustly kill Black and Latino New Yorkers, as well as the dire need for real systemic change in the Department.”
Eure’s job was created last year, as a result of the Community Safety Act, a law that calls for police reform because of the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk that targets Blacks and Latinos. Also in a 198-page ruling last year, Federal Judge Shira Sheindlin ruled that the policy violates the Constitution by making unlawful stops and conducting unlawful frisks. She also called for police reform.
“I received news about my son and the cops in the newspaper,” said Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray, 16, who was killed by two NYPD officers in March 2013. Kimani Gray was said to be on his way home from a party with his friends when confronted by the officers. “I don’t get a sit down with the DA or anyone to talk about the condition of my son’s case,” Carol Gray continued. She now hopes Eure will look into the case.
Last month, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced he will not prosecute the two officers who killed Kimani Gray. Police claimed the teen pointed a gun at the officers. But family refuted that claim. They said he was unarmed.
In a recent report, a source close to the case told the AmNews that the DA could not pursue the case because of a lack of evidence. “Some of the witnesses just would not talk,” the source said. “In a case like this, where the DA’s office needs evidence to support an indictment, that is not snitching. That is telling what you know in order to get justice for a friend or someone you know.”