Mother of Ramarley Graham, Activists Hold Protest Action at Office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara before Marching over Brooklyn Bridge to Join Brooklyn Rally
Group calls for Bharara to prosecute officers who killed Graham before joining rally outside DOJ New York Eastern District to demand same in killing of Eric Garner
The day after the one year mark of Eric Garner’s death, Constance Malcolm, the mother of the Ramarley Graham – the unarmed Bronx teenager who was shot and killed by NYPD in 2012 – was joined by community groups at a protest action outside of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office. The group called for Bharara to prosecute the officers responsible for Graham’s death before marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to join the mass of protesters outside of the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse to call for the same in the killing of Eric Garner.
“There is no pain like the pain that comes from losing your son to the police and then watching their killers walk free,” said Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham. “Gwen Carr and I share this pain - local District Attorneys failed to uphold justice for our sons in spite of clear evidence that they were murdered in cold blood. We are calling US Attorneys Preet Bharara and Kelly Currie to convene grand juries and fully prosecute all the officers responsible for taking our sons' lives.”
In September of 2014, it was confirmed that the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was investigating the killing of Graham. That confirmation came over a year after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said it was undertaking a “review” of the fatal police shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old. Malcolm and New Yorkers from across the city had delivered over 33,000 petitions to the Justice Department in August 2014 to demand a full investigation from then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Bharara.
“A year after Eric Garner was killed and over three years since Ramarley Graham was killed, their families and our communities are yet to see justice, or any steps to address the failed accountability and systemic cultural issues that promote abusive and discriminatory policing within the NYPD,” said Priscilla Gonzalez, Director of Organizing for Communities United for Police Reform. "The federal government must provide justice by prosecuting all the officers responsible for the killings of Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham.”
“There is overwhelmingly clear evidence of wrong-doing in the NYPD killings of Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham and yet local District Attorney's failed to ensure justice in both cases,” said Loyda Colon, Co-Director of the Justice Committee. “Given this, it's imperative that the Department of Justice acts decisively in both cases by convening grand juries and fully prosecuting the officers responsible. This will send a clear message to the nation that the lives of people of color are valued equally and that racial profiling will not be tolerated.”
Graham was shot and killed by NYPD officer Richard Haste in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother in the bathroom of his family’s Bronx home after Haste busted inside without a warrant in February 2012.
“It has been a year since Eric Garner's brutal and senseless death at the hands of the NYPD and still no officer has been held accountable for his killing,” said Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director of VOCAL-NY. “Police officers are not above the law and they must face consequences when they brutalize and kill. As we remember Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham and all those killed by police violence - we also recommit ourselves to fighting for systemic change that can help prevent any more of these tragedies.”
Four months after the 2012 shooting, a Bronx grand jury indicted Haste on two counts of manslaughter, the first indictment of an NYPD officer for killing a civilian since 2007. But in May 2013, Judge Steven Barrett dismissed the indictment due to a technical error made by an assistant district attorney. A second grand jury decided not to re-indict Haste on August 8, 2013, but the U.S. Justice Department indicated it would review the case. Over a year later, Graham’s family has received no indication that DOJ has moved from a “review” of the case to a full investigation that could lead to the convening of a grand jury and indictments of officers involved.
“The failure of the NYPD to hold officers accountable for police brutality that can often be deadly has not changed; it’s why we continue to see these incidents of police brutality so often,” said Jose Lopez, Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York. “The NYPD’s new training, announcements of neighborhood policing, and body cameras cannot solve these systemic problems. There needs to be zero tolerance for police brutality with adequate, timely accountability for officers – something that doesn’t exist today.”
Legal Aid Society released the following statement: “It is time for change. We demand that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the NYPD. We demand that the officers and medical personnel that stood by and watched Eric Garner gasp his last breath, without offering any assistance, be fired. We call on the United States Justice Department to initiate an investigation and bring charges against Officer Pantaleo and all police officers and medical personnel who were involved in this horrible act. We demand that the CCRB disclose whether Officer Pantaleo had a record of substantiated misconduct prior to Mr. Garner's death. We implore the Court to grant our motion to unseal the minutes of the grand jury investigation into the killing of Mr. Garner. We demand justice. Without it, we still can’t breathe.”
###Topics: Ramarley Graham