“Mayor de Blasio might just be a one-term mayor,” predicted Constance Malcolm.
The mother of 2012 police shooting victim Ramarley Graham, 19, told the AmNews, “I asked de Blasio for a meeting, and we still haven’t got a response from him yet. Let me find out that you’re not going to do your job, and you are going to be a one-term mayor.”
“The death of Ramarley Graham was a tragedy, and our heart breaks for the family of Mr. Graham,” said Monica Klein, Deputy Press Secretary for the Mayor’s office. “Now that the federal announcement has been made, NYPD is proceeding with their internal disciplinary process.
Speaking at a City Hall press conference, the angry mom stated that she wants the mayor and police commissioner to punish and fire the officer involved in the unprovoked shooting death of her son. “These officers who were involved in my son’s killing should not be running around with a gun or a badge!” she declared. “They are reckless! They murdered my son in front of my 6-year-old son and his grandmother. … It’s been four years and we still have no answers. All an officer has to say is ‘I thought …’ and that’s his get-out-of-jail card. We can’t allow that any more.”
Tuesday, March 8, Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that he would not pursue charges against the officers responsible for the Feb. 2, 2012, killing of Graham. Malcolm stood on the plaza at City Hall last Thursday with several other families of victims’ of fatal police bullets, along with a host of supporters, including Assemblyman Charles Barron and City Council Members Inez Barron, Andy King and Robert Cornegy. They called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to fire shooter officer Richard Haste and all the officers involved in the killing and subsequent treatment of the family.
Graham’s family is looking squarely at de Blasio for answers.
“We are tired of hearing the de Blasio administration respond to the murder of our son and continued injustice with PR responses about training and community policing,” continued Malcolm. “If this administration is truly committed to demonstrating that Black lives matter and resolving issues of police abuse, they can only do that by taking action and being serious about holding officers accountable. There’s no excuse that holds any weight. They should fire officer Haste, Sergeant Scott Morris and all officers responsible for murdering Ramarley, the abusive treatment of our family and the attempted cover-up.”
The family is not only outraged with the police for chasing an unarmed Graham into his home, breaking in the door without a warrant and shooting the teen in his bathroom in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother, they are also demanding answers into the immediate severe questioning of his distraught grandmother for seven hours. Malcolm says that when she went to the precinct to find out what happened to her son and find his grandmother, she was assaulted by officers. To make matters even worse, the family has charged that the city “misplaced” Graham’s body for four days after he was killed.
Although a Bronx grand jury initially indicted Haste on two counts of manslaughter, Judge Steven Barrett dismissed the indictment, citing a prosecutorial error by Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office.
On the Feb. 2 fourth anniversary of Graham’s killing, his parents, Malcolm and Francelot Graham, hand-delivered a letter to City Hall calling for the firing of all the officers involved. In conjunction, the national civil rights organization, ColorOfChange, launched a petition demanding the same.
“After four years, there has been no justice or accountability,” said Graham’s parents. “NYPD officers murdered our son in his home. He was doing nothing wrong. He should have been safe at home. NYPD busted in without a warrant and then abused and intimidated members of our family while releasing misleading and inaccurate information about the killing. The criminal justice system on the local and federal levels have failed to demonstrate a commitment to valuing and protecting Black lives. Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton are part of this injustice and devaluing of Ramarley’s life as long as they allow these officers to continue receiving paychecks as NYPD employees.”
The family is incensed that Haste not only is still employed by the NYPD but also has received multiple salary increases totaling nearly $25,000 since he killed Graham.
Present at the City Hall press conference were members of other victims’ families, such as Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell; Danette Chavis, mother of Gregory Chavis; and Cynthia Howell, niece of Alberta Spruill.
“The Department of Justice’s decision to not prosecute for the killing of Ramarley Graham opens up a painful wound for me and my family,” said Bell ,whose son was killed in a hail of police bullets on his wedding day in 2006. “Once again, the DOJ has sent the message that police are above the law and that the law is not on our side. I stand with Ramarley’s family to call on Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton to fire all officers responsible for killing Ramarley, abusing his family and hiding the truth about the killing. Firing the officers won’t amount to justice, but at least they won’t be able to carry a badge and gun.”
Gwen Carr, the mother of police fatal chokehold victim Eric Garner, said, “The way the DOJ has handled Ramarley’s case is horrible. We can’t let these officers continue to murder our children and get away with it with no accountability. When they aren’t held responsible and there’s no accountability, it’s as if they’re legalized killers. The mayor and commissioner should step in immediately and fire all officers responsible for killing Ramarley Graham, as well as the officers responsible for abusing his family and obscuring the investigation.”
Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, said, “Mayor de Blasio has pledged to reform the NYPD. He and his administration must demonstrate their commitment to this promise by firing officer Richard Haste and all officers involved in the killing of Ramarley Graham. Whether it be Ramarley, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Eric Garner or far too many others, NYPD officers have too often been allowed to kill Black people without consequence. The mayor and the city have an opportunity to meet their rhetoric with action and move beyond the vision for reform to executing real accountability. The people are watching.”