Family of Ramarley Graham, Community Supporters Pack First Day of Trial against Officer Responsible for Shooting Graham, Other Misconduct
Family and community members demand accountability and transparency from de Blasio & O’Neill: #FireHaste and other officers responsible for killing and misconduct
Five years since killing, $30K in pay raises for Haste without accountability demonstrates lack of change by de Blasio
New York, NY — Family members of Ramarley Graham and their community supporters packed the first day of the NYPD trial against Officer Richard Haste, who shot and killed Graham in 2012. They demanded full accountability from Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill for Haste and all the officers who engaged in misconduct that related to Ramarley’s killing, including abuses of the family.
“Over the last almost five years, our family hasn’t been demanding special treatment, just equality and that officers be held accountable to the law and by the NYPD,” said Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham. “There is a clear moral choice and the de Blasio administration and NYPD can no longer delay making that decision. Accountability must mean firing Richard Haste and all the officers responsible for killing Ramarley, abusing my family and other misconduct related to my son being killed in what should have been the safety of our own home.”
The unarmed 18-year-old Graham was shot and killed in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother by NYPD Officer Richard Haste, when several NYPD officers busted into the family's home without a warrant, killed Ramarley, and engaged in misconduct and abuses of his family. There were 12+ officers involved in the unlawful entry to the family’s home, threatening, assaulting and mistreating Ramarley’s family members after the killing, unlawfully leaking information unauthorized for public release, and disseminating false information about the incident. Haste also shoved and threatened to shoot Ramarley’s grandmother at gunpoint after he shot and killed her grandson.
The identities of many officers involved have been concealed by the NYPD, and the de Blasio administration has refused to provide Graham’s family with basic information in response to repeated letters and requests hand-delivered to City Hall. The de Blasio administration denying the family basic information on the killing forced them to file a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request that remains unanswered. Even as Richard Haste and his attorney knew what charges he would be facing, the family was not provided with information about the charges.
Copies of the various letters can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2hAuaHY
“It’s been five long, painful years since Ramarley was killed and I never imagined how much the city and the legal system would put me and my family through so much additional pain with their failures and disrespect at every step,” continued Malcolm. “The city, under both Bloomberg and de Blasio, has not only failed to hold the officers accountable, but has protected and rewarded them with pay increases. These officers have been given far more consideration by the city than my family was ever afforded. In spite of requests for a year, the city and NYPD are still refusing to release the names of officers responsible for different misconduct surrounding my son's killing. They wouldn't even inform me of what charges they are bringing against Richard Haste before his NYPD trial begins. Instead, they told me I have to sit through the trial to figure it out. This is ridiculous and the little they have told me is that they are not bringing the full charges they should be bringing, making this trial seem rigged in favor of Richard Haste before it even starts.”
In the five years since he killed Graham, Haste remains a police officer in the NYPD and has received tens of thousands of dollars in increased earnings – he made over $30,000 more in 2016 than he did in the year he shot Ramarley (received over $94,000 in pay in 2016).
“Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD's utter disrespect of Ramarley Graham's family is astounding,” said Justice Committee Co-Director Loyda Colon. “After five long years, not one of the 12+ officers involved in Ramarley's death and surrounding misconduct have been held accountable. In spite of countless requests, de Blasio continues to refuse to meet with Ramarley's parents and will not even answer basic questions such as what charges Haste is facing. This lack of police accountability creates a culture within the NYPD in which violence against New Yorkers of color is condoned. And the treatment of Ramarley's family calls into question who the de Blasio administration is really accountable to.”
The range of police misconduct by 12+ NYPD officers related to Ramarley Graham’s killing includes:
- Several officers unlawfully entered the family’s home without a warrant or cause (leading to the killing) and none of the multiple officers on the scene intervened to prevent the unlawful entry
- Ramarley's grandmother was shoved, cursed at and threatened with being shot by Officer Haste at gunpoint after he shot her grandson, and was subjected to use of force by other officers in her home
- Ramarley’s grandmother was separated from her 6-year-old grandson, taken to the 47th Precinct and interrogated for over 7 hours, where she was intimidated to give statements against her will without access to her attorney and family members, who were present at the precinct
- Officers mistreated and abused Ramarley’s mother and 6-year-old brother after the incident, including pushing Ramarley’s mother to the ground
- Officers unlawfully accessed and released sealed records of Ramarley's legal system involvement as a youth, in violation of state law
Council Member Andy King of the 12th Council District, representing the Northeast Bronx, stated: “I am here to be a voice for a young man who can no longer speak for himself. It’s important to understand who and what actions are on trial today. It’s not the teenager Ramarley Graham but the officer who killed him. We will not allow the system to spin this on the victim. All the officers involved in the killing of Ramarley Graham should be held accountable starting with a guilty conviction, termination, and punishment of Richard Haste.”
The de Blasio administration’s decision to reinterpret state law 50-a to conceal disciplinary decisions threatens to leave the Graham family and the public at risk of never learning the outcome of the proceedings for Officer Haste or any of the other officers. The administration reversed the policy of the preceding administrations of both political parties over the past four decades to block the release of this basic information. The de Blasio administration has claimed state law as justification, despite previous administrations being subject to the same law and not using it to conceal such information.
“Police killings by the NYPD after my son were even more unbearable, because the fact that officers aren't held accountable contributes to the idea that police are above the law and that the lives of our children don't matter,” said Malcolm. “If officers had been held accountable for Ramarley’s murder, maybe Eric Garner, Mohamed Bah, Deborah Danner and so many others would be alive today – just like Ramarley might be alive today if the officers responsible for killing others before him had been held accountable. Our communities voted in the last election for a change in this same old politics that protects police officers who brutalize and kill, but what my family and others have been through make it clear that little has changed. Our community is watching this trial and demanding real change to end these killings of our children and families.”
About Communities United for Police Reform: Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment. CPR brings together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.Topics: Ramarley Graham