Based on an Aug. 8 press release put out by the Justice Committee.
Family members and supporters of Ramarley Graham rallied in front of the Bronx District Attorney’s office on Aug. 8 to express outrage at yesterday’s grand jury decision not to re-indict Graham’s killer, New York Police Department Officer Richard Haste. They also rallied on Aug. 9 and 10 in the Bronx.
On Feb. 2, 2012, Haste, who is white, pursued 18-year-old Graham, who was Black and unarmed, into his family’s home and killed him in his bathroom in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother. Soon after, a Bronx grand jury indicted Haste on two counts of manslaughter, the first indictment of an NYPD officer for killing a civilian since 2007.
This past May, Judge Steven Barrett dismissed the indictment due to an error made by Assistant District Attorney Nancy Borko when instructing jurors. Since that time, Graham’s family members and supporters have been engaged in a campaign to raise awareness about the case and demand that the justice process move forward.
To many, the grand jury’s decision to let Haste walk free is even more painful in light of the recent acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman. Many compared the two cases, pointing to racial profiling and a system that fails to hold accountable those who kill youth of color as commonalities.
“We cannot rest until justice is done for Ramarley Graham,” said Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” “Like Trayvon Martin, Graham was guilty of little more than being a black man presumed guilty without evidence, without a trial, without due process, without acknowledgement of his basic humanity. If we fail to stand our ground in cases like this, we can rest assured that the system will continue to do what it has done for decades with indifference and impunity — destroy the lives and dreams of young black men like Martin and Graham.”
Supporters criticized the verdict as a failure of the criminal justice system and demanded a federal investigation into the case, which the U.S. Justice Department is currently reviewing.
“The failure to hold the officer responsible for killing Ramarley Graham accountable is not just appalling; it’s a painful reminder that our society has yet to truly value the lives of black youth,” said Thenjiwe McHarris of Million Hoodies. “There needs to be an immediate federal investigation into the case and the discriminatory policing practices that plague the NYPD need to come to an end.”
“I am more than outraged,” said Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, in an Aug. 10 statement on Facebook. “The criminal justice system has failed us, just as it failed the family of Trayvon Martin. We demand an immediate federal investigation into my son’s death. We will continue to fight without rest until we win justice.”
“I cannot believe the system is allowing Richard Haste, who killed my son in the bathroom of his own home, to go home to his family and able to look into their faces and smile. The justice system is making the same mistake again. I am in a state of shock that with all the evidence put in front of the grand jury, they had the nerve to let my son’s killer off scotch free. However, I am not surprise of their actions because as dating back to almost 20 years ago they [cops] were murdering our Black and Latino families and getting away with it. How can we protect our kids when they have to not only watch out for others of their peers wanting to hurt them but to also watch out for police officers who can cold bloodily kill them without any impunity?”
“However, I can assure you that this will not end like any other. I will not go away and fold my arms while my sons is asking that i get justice for the injustice that was done to him. I being a person from the Island always see crimes happening around me but I never thought that one day I will have to endure the hurt and pain of losing my son to not only another civilian but by someone that was sworn in by the law to protect and serve. Really? Who are they here to protect and serve?” (tinyurl.com/mb9esaa)
The Aug. 28 Justice for Trayvon Martin assembly march in New York City from Harlem to the Bronx will focus on an end to the racist war against youth of color, highlighting the cases of Ramarley Graham, Kimani Gray, Shantel Davis and Shaaliver Douse, all fatally shot by the police.