On Monday, March 21, 2016, 5:42 PM, Constance Graham <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
NYPD officers killed Ramarley Graham and tried hide it with lies and intimidation.
Tell Mayor De Blasio to fire them all.
Dear Fred,Four years ago, NYPD officers unlawfully busted into my home without a warrant or legal justification and murdered my son, Ramarley Graham. He had committed no crime, was unarmed, and should have been safe within his own home, but they still shot and killed him in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother. Afterwards, police officers abused, intimidated and threatened our family, and engaged in dishonest activities to cover up the killing. Four years later, NONE of these officers have faced discipline and they remain on the NYPD.
Every level of the justice system has failed to provide justice, all the way up to the Justice Department's U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who sent a disgraceful message that Black lives don't deserve justice, and that conduct that would be considered criminal if done by a civilian are beyond legal accountability when committed by police officers.
Now, our only hope for accountability lies with NYC Mayor de Blasio, who was elected largely with support from Black and Brown New Yorkers because of his pledges to advance police reforms. But the officers responsible for killing my son, abusing my family, and attempting to cover their tracks remain on the NYPD under the De Blasio administration. Some officers have even received pay raises, with the officer who shot Ramarley receiving nearly $25,000 in pay increases since the murder.1
The killing of my son and actions after the killing by officers to distort the facts surrounding it and intimidate us represent the most severe forms of police misconduct and should be cause for immediate firing. Yet, de Blasio's NYPD is not being transparent or serious about an investigation. It has failed to clarify which officers are facing charges and what charges have been filed, acknowledging to a media outlet that only three officers are targets of their investigation when AT LEAST A DOZEN WERE INVOLVED. The one officer it has identified as facing charges is the one who pulled the trigger, but he's only facing one charge from 2012 of "incorrectly discharging a firearm" – nothing for initiating an unlawful home entry, using excessive force or threatening my mother at gunpoint.
This is unacceptable, shameful and displays an utter disregard for my family and Black lives. ALL the officers involved in Ramarley's killing and attempting to cover it up through lies, distortions and intimidation of my family should be fully investigated and fired.
'Cop Who Gunned Down Ramarley Graham Gets a Raise' Huffington Post, 1.21.15 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5999?t=6&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
'Officer in fatal Ramarley Graham shooting faces Police Dept. Charges' New York Times, 3.10.16 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/6000?t=8&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
In the year 2012, the number of young Black men that were victim of stop and frisk searches in New York nearly exceeded the city's population of young Black men.1 Unsurprisingly, at least twenty-one people were killed by the NYPD that year, including 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, who was stalked and gunned down by NYPD Officer Richard Haste.2 A judge threw out the grand jury's indictment of Officer Haste, and after two years of investigating, the Department of Justice has just ended their investigation by deciding not to file any charges.
After four years of fighting for Ramarley, his family must now accept that no one will ever be held accountable in a court of law. However, they are not giving up on holding the officers involved accountable. Outrageously, Officers Haste and others who tried to cover up the killing are still employed by the NYPD. Join Ramarley's family in demanding they be fired.
Over the last two years, local officials have claimed they could not act until the conclusion of the DOJ investigation, delaying any discipline for Officer Haste or others.3 It has now been four years since Ramarley was murdered. How much longer will his family have to wait for justice?
Murdered in what should have been the safety of his own home, Ramarley was fatally shot by Officer Haste in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother after the officer entered their residence without a warrant. Following the unjust shooting, police officers quickly began covering their tracks by promoting false statements about the incident, some of which were later retracted. Officers even tried to intimidate Ramarley's family, interrogating his grandmother for 7 hours and even assaulting his mother at the precinct4.
Join us in calling for Mayor de Blasio's administration to hold NYPD Officer Richard Haste and all the officers responsible for killing Ramarley, as well as those involved in obscuring the case and intimidating the Graham family.
The local justice system and the Department of Justice have failed Ramarley Graham and his family. Mayor de Blasio and NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton claim to be reforming the NYPD but they need to demonstrate that their commitment goes beyond press releases and PR announcements.
The killing of young Black men who pose no threat to officers or public safety — like Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, and now, Ramarley Graham — are anecdotes of the long history of NYPD inflicting brutality and violence on Black people. In 1999, officers fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, killing him in his Bronx apartment. In 2006, police fired 50 shots at Sean Bell, killing him on his wedding day in Queens. In both of these horrifying cases, the district attorney's office was unable to secure a guilty verdict. A lack of police accountability is what perpetuates these deadly police shootings in Black communities.
The officers who were involved in the killing of Ramarley and the attempted cover up should never be allowed to put on a police uniform again. Don't let them do what they did to Ramarley and his family to anyone else.
In peace and solidarity,
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Enchanta and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
1. "Analysis Finds Racial Disparities, Ineffectiveness in NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Program; Links Tactic to Soaring Marijuana Arrest Rate," NYCLU, 05-22-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3414?t=14&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
2. "Will There Be Justice for NYPD Victim Ramarley Graham," The Nation, 08-21-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5950?t=16&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
3. "Why Ramarley Graham's Parents Just Slept On The DOJ's Steps," Huffington Post, 02-03-2016 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5951?t=18&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
4. "Ramarley Graham's Family Sues NYPD," The Guardian, 02-03-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5952?t=20&akid=5546.2230747.VT0RJL
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