The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 77/No. 21      June 3, 2013

(front page)
Parents of Bronx youth won’t let
killing by cop become ‘cold case’
Militant/Sara Lobman
May 18 protest against decision by judge to dismiss indictment against cop who killed Ramarley Graham on technicality. From left: Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray who was killed March 9 by cops in Brooklyn; City Councilman Charles Barron; Frank Graham, Ramarley Graham’s father. Far right, Ramarley Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm.

NEW YORK — “The cops keep murdering our kids and the courts don’t do anything. We have to do it ourselves,” said Constance Malcolm on the fight to prosecute Richard Haste, the cop who shot and killed her 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham. Malcolm was addressing a May 18 protest of some 150 people in front of her home where Graham was killed more than a year ago.

On May 15 Judge Steven Barrett threw out the indictment for manslaughter against Haste, saying the prosecution had incorrectly instructed the grand jury to disregard testimony that other police officers had warned Haste that Graham might have a gun. Barrett says he will allow the prosecution to seek a new indictment.

“We will not allow this case to go cold,” Frank Graham, Ramarley’s father, told the rally. “This is not over. We will do anything necessary to get justice.”

Haste, an undercover narcotics cop, shot Graham at close range inside the Graham home in the Wakefield neighborhood of the Bronx, Feb. 2, 2012.

After the killing, cops initially claimed Graham had been running from them and was armed. But video surveillance cameras showed that Graham walked up the sidewalk and entered his house. The video then shows cops, who had no warrant, trying to kick the front door down. When that failed, they ran around to the back of the two-story duplex and broke down the door to Graham’s second floor apartment, confronted him in the bathroom, and shot him in the chest in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother. Graham had no gun.

Following the shooting, Graham’s grandmother, Patricia Hartley, was taken into custody and held for seven hours at the police station.

On June 13, 2012, after months of protests, Haste was indicted for first- and second-degree manslaughter by a Bronx grand jury.

Among the many speakers at the May 18 protest were Crystal Davis, the sister of Shantel Davis, and Carol Gray, the mother of Kimani Gray.

Shantel Davis, 23, was shot and killed by the police on June 14, 2012. Gray, a 16-year-old high school student, was killed by the police on March 9 of this year. Cops fired 11 shots at him, hitting him seven times, including three in the back. Both killings took place in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“My sister and Kimani Gray were shot by the same task force,” Davis said. “I’m here to fight for Ramarley, to fight for Shantel and to fight for Kimani. This happens every day, but people are scared to speak out. We need to fight together.”

Over the past year, Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham have joined families of other victims of police brutality. Last August they spoke at a rally in Newburgh, N.Y., to protest the March 7, 2012, killing of Michael Lembhard. In December Malcolm spoke at a memorial tribute for Malik Williams on the first anniversary of his killing by police in Garfield, N.J.

“These protests are important,” Robert James, a construction worker who lives in the area, told the Militant. “This could happen to me or my son or someone I know. By throwing out the indictment, they make it seem like the cops have a right to kill us.”

Sheron Whitter was visiting family in the Caribbean island of Jamaica when Graham was killed. “I heard about it on the radio there,” she said. “When I got back home, I started coming to the weekly vigils. I’m tired of them targeting our kids.”

“I got involved right away,” said Rebecca, a high school senior from Westchester, who was in the neighborhood on the day Graham was killed and was signing people up for future actions. “We have stop and frisk in Westchester, too. And they put up ‘no loitering’ signs in the Black and Latino neighborhoods so they always find a reason to stop someone.”

Among the many other speakers at the rally were attorneys Royce Russell and Jeffrey Edmin, who represent Ramarley Graham’s family, and two mayoral candidates in the Nov. 5 city elections — Dan Fein, who is running on the Socialist Workers Party ticket, and John Liu, the current city comptroller, who is running in the Democratic Party primary.
Related articles:
‘Keep the pressure on’ to free Chicago cop torture victims
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home