Ramarley Graham's Parents Speak Out in Emotional Video
HARLEM — In an emotional nearly 13-minute video, the parents of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed teen who was gunned down by police in his Bronx home, say they don't understand why their son was killed and claim that they were treated poorly by police after his death.
"They took my baby...who can give him back to me? Who can bring him back? I'll never see him smile, I'll never hear him laugh, I'll never be able to tickle him no more. He won't say daddy I love you," said Ramarley's father Franclot Graham in the video released Thursday by the family's attorneys.
"This is the worst day of my life. It'll never change because he's gone.
Graham was chased from White Plains Road and East 228th Street to his home at 749 E. 229th St. by police who were investigating a report of a drug deal on Feb. 2.
The officers believed they saw a gun in Graham's waistband and tried to break through the front door of the building before breaking through the door of the apartment, chasing him into the bathroom where they shot him in the chest.
Ultimately, police did not find a gun but discovered just a single bag of marijuana.
"I can't get no answers as to why this happened, why this had to happen," said a sobbing Franclot Graham.
In the video, the grieving parents speak in the present tense about their son. They say they want the officer who killed him brought to justice.
"I want the person or the persons that is responsible for taking my son away from me, taking our son way from us, to be held responsible and brought to justice to the full extent," said Franclot Graham.
"As far as I'm concerned, a criminal is a criminal. You take someone life without no probable cause, no reason in cold blood like that I don't care if you wear a uniform or baggy pants, a hoody, you are wrong."
After they went to the 47th Precinct stationhouse, Ramarley's parents say they were not treated well by police.
His mother, Constance Malcolm, said she only learned of her son's death while sitting in the hallway of the precinct after she overheard one officer speaking to another.
"He said 'I'm coming from the homicide.' That's how I found out my son is dead," said Malcolm.
Ramarley's grandmother, Patricia Hartley, 58, was held for seven hours at the 47th Precinct station house after the shooting. She was questioned for 5 1/2 hours but police say they informed her she was being treated as a witness and she cooperated.
Malcolm said police used force to restrain her when she tried to see her mom to tell her not to speak to police without a lawyer being present.
"Another police officer tried to restrain me and put my arms behind my back and I started screaming: 'You going to kill me like you killed my son. Let me go. Let me go,'" said Malcolm on the video. She says her mother was pulled back into the interview room.
Franclot Graham also said he felt he was treated poorly.
"Officers passing and looking at us, giggling, just smiling, just laughing like it was Christmas Eve and they was about to have a Christmas party," he said in the interview released by the family's attorney Emdin & Russell, LLP.
Malcolm and Franclot Graham described their son as an kid who liked animals, the History Channel and babysitting for his younger cousins. He also wanted a career in music. They say he went to the store for senior citizens, many of whom used to ask Franclot Graham when his son was going to come visit from the Bronx.
"Marley is 18 years old, but he's a baby. He does everything as far as the way he act, the way he laugh, the way he play, like a baby," said Franclot Graham. "He's loving, friendly. He still kisses me on the cheek whenever he sees me. I love you every time before he hangs up the phone."
The grieving dad said he used to tell his son to stay in the house to keep him safe and his son used to say that he had to leave sometimes.
"I just imagine him saying to me 'See daddy, I was in the house. I was in the house and look what they did to me. And you always say stay in the house. At that moment he's asking: 'Daddy, where are you? Help me," said Franclot Graham.
"And I wasn't there. I couldn't help him because he was at the place where he was supposed to be safe."
Ramarley Graham is expected to be buried Saturday. The Rev. Al Sharpton will speak at the young man's funeral and continue his call for a federal probe into the killing.
"What adds insult to injury is that police broke into this man's home and killed him," said Kirsten John Foy, president-elect of the Brooklyn chapter of Sharpton's National Action Network.
Foy will give the eulogy at Graham's funeral.
"There's a question about the intent to kill, but they intended to violate the sanctity of their home. There is no rhyme or reason or rationale for why this happened," Foy added.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said both the officer involved in the shooting and his supervisor have been stripped of their guns and placed on desk duty. Hundreds of people have rallied against Graham's shooting death.
Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have both expressed concern about the incident.
Graham's shooting death and the recent spate of police officers being shot at are related, Foy said. The city's stop-and-frisk policy is dehumanizing certain residents of the city to the point that they don't care about human life, Foy added.
"We can't disconnect the Ramarley Graham killing and shootings of police officers. We are going from a cold war to a hot war," said Foy. "We haven't seen this many police officers shot in a long time. Public policy is endangering the life of law enforcement officers."
The need for mutual cooperation to stop the bloodshed will also be a message during Graham's funeral.
"I'm not going to be excusing anyone. I'm not excusing our community or police. We are playing a role in our own demise," said Foy.
"We have to realize that we are one city and we will prosper together or we will be destroyed together."
Graham's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church, 3751 White Plains Road, Bronx, NY.