Family Condemns Refusal To Indict Haste -- Graham Mother Says Officer Killed Her Son "In Cold Blood"
Richard Haste--licensed to kill
Family members and supporters of Ramarley Graham rallied in front of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to express their outrage at yesterday’s grand jury decision not to re-indict Graham’s killer, NYPD Officer Richard Haste.
“Richard Haste broke into our home and killed my son in cold blood," said Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham. "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.”
On Feb. 2, 2012, Haste pursued 18-year-old Graham 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 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 killed youth of color as commonalities.
"I find it disheartening that our justice system can continue to fail us this way,” said Andy King, the City Council Member of District 12, of which Graham was a resident. “It was unacceptable even before the outcry over the George Zimmerman verdict, but given the immense national response to that case I see this as a slap in the face to communities of color throughout the city. If the NYC judicial system could ever claim ignorance to the struggles that communities of color face in situations like this, they may no longer use that defense. To see this case handled with such indifference reflects the state of our entire legal system and the image depicted is both disappointing and infuriating."
“We cannot rest until justice is done for Ramarley Graham,” said Michelle Alexander, Author, 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.
“The failure to hold the officer responsible for killing Ramarley Graham accountable is not just appalling its 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.”
“In the immediate we are demanding a federal investigation into this case,” said Loyda Colon, Co-Director of the Justice Committee. “In the long-term, if District Attorneys cannot do their jobs correctly, we need another solution. Too often, DAs handle the investigations and prosecutions of police officers who have killed New Yorkers poorly. The failure to indict Haste and other officers who have taken lives proves that we need a special prosecutor for cases of police killings.”
The family has an initiated a petition called for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the case. It can be found at: https://www.change.org/petitions/open-a-federal-investigation-into-the-k...