- ColorOfChange.Org is urging the United States Department of Justice to hold New York cop Richard Haste accountable for killing an unarmed teenager inside of his home. Haste is one of several out-of-uniform NYPD police officers who chased down an 18-year old Ramarley Graham, broke into his house and savagely murdered him in his own bathroom.
- One of the ‘defenses’ police officers most commonly cite to “justify” their continuing murder of young unarmed Black men is that their target would not stop for them when ordered to. However, just as in the case of the NYPD killing of Ahmed Amadou Diallo fifteen years ago, the officers wore plain clothes, carried guns and did not even identify themselves as police (not that this is even relevant since they had no reason to be chasing him in the first place!).
- When a Black man, in a predominantly Black neighborhood, sees a bunch of scary-ass white men running at him and aiming guns in his direction, what is he supposed to presume, that they’re coming to protect him?! Hell no! Common sense would tell any thinking person that they intend to do him harm.
- In the case of Ramarley Graham, just as in the case of Ahmed Amadou Diallo, he was murdered inside the confines of his own home. The only difference is that Diallo was gunned down as he was entering his apartment, whereas Graham was in another room entirely when police officers violently kicked down the door and murdered him in cold blood.
- And just like in the case of Diallo, Graham’s murderers walked free. The deaths of these young men were treated by the State as inconsequential, and the the fact that the cops who took their lives away from them are granted the freedom to go on with their lives as if nothing ever happened should serve as a wake-up call to the masses. The American system exploits, oppresses and kills people with impunity, and no politician is ultimately going to do anything about it without an intense amount of pressure and an uncompromising stance in the face of these brutal thug police oppressors who ravage poor Black & Brown Communities.
- During the “Occupy” Movement demonstrations in 2011, one of the main mistakes protesters made was showing compassion for the repressive police forces. Some protesters were even heard crying, “We’re fighting against your pension-cuts too!” – even as these very officers were tear-gassing and beating them over the head with batons. Any successful Revolutionary Movement will have to come to terms with the fact that the police IDENTIFY with “the 1%” that the movement railed against, regardless of how their own economic situation is. When they swore an oath to “serve & protect the community”, who do you think “the community” alludes to? Here’s a hint: there’s a 99% chance that it doesn’t include you.
**SIGN THE COLOR OF CHANGE PETITION HERE AND DEMAND THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SEE THAT OFFICER RICHARD HASTE IS PUT AWAY WHERE HE CAN NO LONGER HARM YOUNG ONES ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK CITY**
-The following was received in an email sent out by ColorOfChange.Org and its content is accredited solely to them:
Two years ago, plainclothes NYPD Officer Richard Haste stalked and gunned down Ramarley Graham, a frightened, unarmed, and nonviolent 18-year old who was attempting to flush marijuana down the toilet in his Bronx home.1
Bronx County District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office convened a Grand Jury which voted to indict Officer Haste, but a judge threw out the indictment, citing prosecutorial error. A second Grand Jury refused to re-indict Haste.2
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a duty to protect our community against racial profiling and deadly police violence, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so.3 But the DOJ will only pursue this case if enough of us raise our voices and demonstrate a groundswell of national outrage.
Please join us in demanding that the DOJ and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara make this case a high priority, conduct a thorough investigation into Ramarley Graham’s death and bring federal charges against NYPD Officer Richard Haste. It only takes a moment.
In February of 2012, surveillance cameras from a neighboring home clearly captured Officer Haste and several other plainclothes officers — who were working undercover as part of the NYPD street narcotics unit — chasing Ramarley into his home. Violating the police rules of conduct, Haste violently kicked in the door and entered without a search warrant.4
For more than a decade, the NYPD has relied heavily on the discriminatory Stop and Frisk practice, relentlessly subjecting Black and brown New Yorkers to racial profiling, constant harassment, violence, and suspicionless street searches.5Ramarley was one of at least 21 people killed by the NYPD in 2012,6 a year when the number of Stop and Frisk searches of young Black men nearly eclipsed the entire city’s population of young Black men.7 Racially biased and unconstitutional policies like these lead to blanket suspicions of entire communities, unlawful arrests, and a culture of impunity which endangers young lives like Ramarley’s.
The killing of unarmed young Black men who pose no threat to officers or public safety — like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell — highlights the long history of brutality and violence perpetrated by the NYPD against members of our community. In 1999, officers fired 41 shots at Diallo, killing him in his Bronx apartment, and in 2006, police fired 50 shots at Bell, killing him on his wedding day in Queens.8 In both of these horrifying cases, the district attorney’s office was unable to secure a guilty verdict. And some of the officers involved in these deadly altercations were allowed to remain on the police force with their gun-carrying privileges restored.9
State and local prosecutors regularly collaborate with police officers and this close relationship inhibits them from thoroughly investigating and prosecuting law enforcement involved in wrongdoing.10 After the Bronx County District Attorney’s office failed to re-indict Officer Haste, the DOJ and United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that they would review the case to determine whether Ramarley’s civil rights were violated.11 It’s time for federal officials to take action.
Thanks and Peace,
–Matt, Rashad, Arisha, Jamar, Aimée and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
April 15th, 2014
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1. “Will There Be Justice for NYPD Victim Ramarley Graham?,” The Nation, 08-21-13
2. “Grand Jury Decides Not to Charge Officer Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Youth in Bronx,” NY Times, 08-13-13
3. “Obama cracks down on abuses by big-city police departments,” Salon, 05-30-11
4. “Video of NYPD Breaking into Ramarley Graham’s Home Prior to Murdering Him,” Daily Kos, 02-06-12
5. “Stop-and-Frisk Didn’t Make New York Safer,” The Atlantic, 03-26-14
6. See reference 1.
7. “Analysis Finds Racial Disparities, Ineffectiveness in NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Program; Links Tactic to Soaring Marijuana Arrest Rate,” NYCLU, 05-22-13
8. “Diallo’s Mother Asks Why Officer Who Shot at Her Son Will Get Gun Back,” NY Times, 10-02-12
9. See reference 9.
10. “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States,” Human Rights Watch, Accessed 04-12-13
11. “Federal Government Will Review Ramarley Graham Shooting,” Wall Street Journal, 08-13-13