Ramarley Graham’s Family & New Yorkers Demand Swift Action from de Blasio & O’Neill on Day Marking 5 Years Since NYPD Killed Unarmed Teen
In 5 Years since killing and one year since feds closed investigation, no officers have been disciplined and only one has faced NYPD trial with outcome still pending
Family and New Yorkers express disappointment in de Blasio for not fulfilling 2012 call as public advocate for “fair, speedy and transparent” accountability for officers in killing
New York, NY – The family of Ramarley Graham, their community supporters, elected officials, and New Yorkers rallied in Foley Square with demands for Mayor de Blasio on the day marking five years since Graham was killed. They demanded Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill ensure full accountability for all of the NYPD officers involved in the killing and misconduct related to it – Officer Richard Haste, who shot Ramarley and recently faced a departmental trial; Sgt. Scott Morris and Officer John McLoughlin who are facing departmental charges; and the many other officers who racially profiled Graham, unlawfully entered the home, abused his family, and undermined the possibility for an objective investigation. 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 after several officers busted into the family's home without cause or a warrant.
“It’s been 5 years since NYPD officers recklessly busted into my home and murdered my son in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother,” said Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham. “Yet the many officers involved have not been held accountable but have received pay raises and promotions.”
Malcolm expanded in a February 2, 2017 New York Times op-ed: https://nyti.ms/2k4vuGv
Five years have passed since Graham was killed and nearly a year since the U.S. Justice Department closed its investigation, but none of the officers responsible for killing Ramarley and abusing his family have been held accountable by the de Blasio administration’s NYPD. Haste and the other officers remain in the NYPD and have received tens of thousands of dollars in increased earnings since killing Ramarley. Haste was paid $30,000 more in 2016 (he received over $94,000 in 2016) than he did in the year he shot Ramarley.
“There’s been two different mayors and three different police commissioners since my son was killed, but there has still been no justice – I never thought I’d still be fighting for just basic accountability five years after they killed Ramarley,” continued Malcolm. “It’s time for Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill to stop dragging their feet and remove these officers from the NYPD before any other families are forced to go through the same heart ache and pain as mine. De Blasio and O’Neill must fire Richard Haste, begin the trials against Scott Morris and John McLoughlin to fire them, and hold all the other officers who racially profiled my son and engaged in misconduct accountable. Mayor de Blasio must stop playing politics with the life of my son and safety of our communities from police abuses – the only way to do that is with action to hold all officers accountable.”
There were many officers involved in the unlawful entry to the family’s home, threatening, assaulting and mistreating Ramarley’s family members and other civilians after the killing, unlawfully leaking information unauthorized for public release, and disseminating false information about the incident. Haste shoved and threatened to shoot Ramarley’s grandmother at gunpoint after he shot and killed her grandson. Ramarley’s grandmother was later taken to the 47th Precinct, where she was interrogated for seven hours, denied access to her attorney, and unsuccessfully pressured to make false statement that might justify the police’s misconduct. Despite the extensive misconduct, Haste only faced a narrow charge for violating tactical procedure in entering the family’s home at his NYPD departmental trial that ended Monday, January 23. He faced no charge for shooting and killing the unarmed Graham or for his abuse of Ramarley’s grandmother. None of the civilian witnesses, who were subjected to misconduct, were interviewed or called to testify by the NYPD.
The identities of many officers involved continue to be concealed by the NYPD, with only some being revealed during the departmental trial into Haste. 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, forcing the family 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, Graham’s family was not provided with such information. At Haste’s trial, the identities of two officers who initially racially profiled Graham (for “walking with a purpose”), beginning the chain of events that led to his killing, were revealed. It was also discovered through their testimony that they had been promoted by the NYPD since Graham’s killing.
The New York City Council’s Black, Latino & Asian Caucus recently sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill critical of their handling of the investigation and disciplinary process related to Graham’s killing.
The de Blasio administration’s decision to reinterpret state law 50-a to conceal disciplinary decisions had threatened to leave the Graham family and the public at risk of never learning the outcome of the proceedings for Officer Haste or any other officers. The administration had reversed the policy of the preceding administrations over the past four decades in releasing this rather basic information, claiming state law as an excuse despite previous administrations being subject to the same law and not using it to conceal such information. However, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Richardson appeared to contradict the NYPD’s new line of reasoning in recent comments implying that the outcome of the trial against Haste would be made public.
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner said: "Ramarley Graham's mother and I are part of the same family, connected by the NYPD's murder of our sons. We have both been begging for answers and accountability for years while our son's murderers have gotten tens of thousands of dollars in pay raises. We don't want any more mothers to have to join our club. We need Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O'Neill to get Daniel Pantaleo, Richard Haste and all the other officers involved in our sons murders out of the NYPD!"
Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell stated: “As a mother who also lost my son, Sean Bell, to the NYPD and who also sat through a departmental trial five years later, I know the suffering Ramarley's mother has been put through by the city administration, the criminal justice system and the NYPD. No mother should have to spend years demanding and begging for answers at every door, only to have them slammed in her face. Mayor De Blasio and Commissioner O'Neill must fire these officers. Firing Richard Haste and the other officers involved will not bring Ramarley back, but we can't have these cops on our streets or there will be more grieving mothers all too soon.”
Monifa Bandele, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform said: “New Yorkers continue to be unjustly killed and brutalized by NYPD officers because systemic dysfunction and failures in the department’s ability and willingness to hold officers accountable persists. The de Blasio administration has done nothing to address this, leaving our communities still vulnerable to police abuse and violence. It’s unreasonable for it to take 5 years to hold officers accountable for killing Ramarley Graham, who should still be with his family but not for outrageous police misconduct by many officers. We stand with Ramarley’s family in their demand for accountability – that Richard Haste and the many officers responsible for killing Ramarley and engaging in misconduct related to his death be removed from the NYPD without any further delay. The mayor and police commissioner cannot pay lip service to changing NYPD culture while their inaction condones egregious police violence against our community members.”
Justice Committee Co-Director Loyda Colon stated: “Ramarley Graham was a teenager in his own home, doing nothing wrong, when he was murdered by Officer Richard Haste. In addition to Haste, there are at least a dozen officers who should be fired by the NYPD based on their misconduct related to the murder of Ramarley. It's heartbreaking that Ramarley's family has been fighting for 5 years for accountability, but not one officer has been fired. When officers like Haste, Sgt Morris and McLoughlin are allowed to keep their jobs and get significant pay increases every year, the message sent is that the NYPD is above the law, that abusive policing is not a problem and that Black lives don't matter. Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD must stop disrespecting Ramarley Graham's family. If the Mayor and Commissioner want to prove that they want to improve police-community relations, Richard Haste, Sergeant Scott Morris, John McLoughlin and all officers responsible for misconduct in the killing of Ramarley Graham should be fired without delay.”
Council Member Andy King, 12th Council District, said: “It’s been five long years that we’ve waited for justice for Ramarley Graham’s family and, as we – the family and community -- endure this horrible anniversary the only relief that can be given is that Richard Haste is found guilty of violating NYPD policy and procedures. In addition, the other officers involved must be charged for their misconduct. We’re calling on the Mayor and Police Commissioner to look at the evidence and hold Haste and the officers involved accountable and terminate their employment at the NYPD,” said Council Member Andy King, 12th C.D.
Council Member Rosie Mendez (District 2 – Manhattan) stated: “It has been 5 years since Richard Haste shot and killed Ramarley Graham. Ramarley and his family’s constitutional rights were violated when a police officer kicked down the door to his home without a warrant and shot Ramarley in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother. I will continue to stand with Ramarley’s mother, Constance Malcolm, until Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill fires Richard Haste and any and all officers involved in Ramarley’s death, as well as those who threatened and assaulted family members. I have no expectations that the departmental trail that ended last week will result in a decision satisfactory to the family or their supporters since the NYPD chose to not have any civilians testify in any portion of the trail.”
NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal said: “We must fight for justice for Ramarley Graham, for his family, and for all families whose sons and daughters were taken from them too soon and too callously. Now, more than ever, we must insist on due process, transparency and accountability. And, we must not stop until our society lives up to its creed of equality under the law and innocent until proven guilty. I stand with Ramarley’s family in honoring his memory and allowing that memory to drive our quest for progress and justice.”
Tina Luongo, Attorney in Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice of The Legal Aid Society stated: “The Legal Aid Society stands with the family of Ramarley Graham as they seek justice for the untimely murder of their teenage son 5 years ago. They deserve accountability, the NYPD must fire the man who shot their unarmed son. They deserve transparency. The NYPD must make public, in this case and in all substantiated cases of police misconduct, disciplinary penalties for abusing the awesome power that comes with the NYPD badge and gun.”
Nadia Hussain, Maternal Justice Campaign Director at MomsRising said: "No mother should have to fear her child could be harmed at the hands of those charged with protection. We at MomsRising stand with Constance Malcolm in calling for justice for her son, Ramarley Graham, justice that has been absent for 5 years already. We call on Mayor de Blaso and Commisioner O'Neill as mothers who want to see a safer world for our children, we must have police accountability."
A statement from Big Apple Coffee Party stated: “Big Apple Coffee Party is supporting the call of the Ramarley Graham family because the police are mandated to protect all communities but too often rogue cops commit unjustified homicides against people of color with total impunity. The police and the entire justice system must be held accountable for these injustices.”
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