Ramarley Graham Remembered With Protest March
EDENWALD — In the year since his 18-year-old son Ramarley died allegedly from the bullet fired by a police officer who had barged into his family's home, Franclot Graham said the family's frustration has just grown since the teen's death.
At a memorial vigil and march held in honor of the Bronx teen on Saturday, Graham said he was grateful to everyone who came out despite frigid temperatures, but had little consolation to offer a year later and felt that justice had not yet been served.
"It's sad. It's a real sad day. I shouldn't be here doing this, but because of what happened, I am," he said.
"I appreciate everyone coming out here today. It's cold and they all could've been at home in the warm, but they came here instead."
Dozens of neighbors, activists and friends gathered at 749 East 229th Street, outside the building where Ramarley was shot last year, after cops, who said they were investigating a drug-dealing report, said they spotted a gun in his waistband. Police stormed the apartment and shot him in the bathroom, but no gun was recovered, just a small bag of marijuana.
The group marched to the police precinct where the officer accused of shooting the teen, Richard Haste, worked.
Outside the 47th precinct, Franclot Graham called for justice in his son's death.
Haste was also recently accused of threatening to shoot Ramarley's grandmother during the incident, in a suit filed Friday by the family against the NYPD, stating intimidation tactics were used by investigators against the 85-pound woman.
"This fight is not just about wanting Richard Haste to go to prison. We want all the people that was involved booted from the NYPD," said Graham. "They are not fit to be cops."
Activists and elected officials joined Graham, including Yusef Salaam, 38, one of five men who was wrongly imprisoned in the Central Park jogger rape case 23 years ago.
"I'm here today because I'm a victim of the system, the criminal system of injustice, and I need to lend my powers to support justice in action for the Graham family," said Salaam.
City Comptroller John Liu stood at the sides of Graham and Constance Malcolm, Ramarley's mother, and said he thought they deserved answers.
"It's been a year since Ramarley Graham was gunned down in his own home and Frank and Connie and their family are still going through horrible and unbearable times," he said.
By the time the group reached the precinct stationhouse, and Graham had delivered a highly emotional and grief-stricken speech, speaking also about the dangers of the controversial NYPD policy called "stop and frisk," hundreds were gathered on the Laconia Avenue sidewalk.
"Enough is enough, when is this going to stop?" asked Graham.