Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where's The Daily News Cover For Ramarley Graham?

Back on February 2, 2012, Ramarley Graham was followed home by NYPD detectives and shot and killed in his family's apartment.

According to the NY Times, members of the NYPD's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit pursued Graham after they allegedly received a report that Graham was armed with a gun.

No gun was found on the scene or on Graham's body, though police did find a bag of marijuana in the bathroom where Graham was shot.

Graham was apparently trying to flush the bag of dope when police broke into the apartment and shot him.

The Times describes what happened at the scene this way:

The impression that Mr. Graham had a gun was reinforced as officers tracked the three men. The group next went to a home at 728 East 229th Street, where Mr. Graham was spotted leaving with what appeared to be the butt of a gun in his waistband, according to another set of radio transmissions among the narcotics team members.

Two officers wearing raid jackets and bullet-resistant vests emerged from a van and yelled, “Police! Stop! Don’t move!” said Mr. Kelly, citing the account of a civilian witness. 

But Mr. Graham made it to his home at 749 East 229th Street, and the front door locked, stymieing officers who were pursuing him with their guns drawn. Another tenant, Gene Davis, 60, said he saw the officers rushing through the outside gate before they reached the door. They yelled at him: “Don’t move! Get back!”

Eventually, a man alerted by the commotion let the sergeant in a back door and told him that Mr. Graham lived on the second floor. The officers then spread out: One stayed on the ground floor; the sergeant stayed on the stairs; and two lead officers went to the apartment and knocked. When no one answered, they “broke open” the door, Mr. Kelly said. 

Precisely what happened in the bathroom seconds later is not clear. On Thursday night, the police said Mr. Graham had tussled with an officer, but on Friday, Mr. Kelly said there did not appear to be any evidence of a struggle. 

“We don’t believe there was contact,” he said. 

The officer yelled, “Gun! Gun!” and then fired, Mr. Kelly said. 

The teenager’s grandmother Patricia Hartley was in the hallway. Paulet Minzie, the landlady, who lives on the third floor, said she heard the grandmother shouting at the police: “Why you hitting me? Why you hitting me?” 

Mr. Graham’s 6-year-old brother was also screaming, Ms. Minzie said. “He said, ‘They killed my brother!’ ” she related. 

The two officers involved in the shooting were stripped of their guns while an investigation was pursued.  

At the time, Bloomberg and Kelly said some publicly soothing words about the shooting.  

But later on we learned that the NYPD officers had threatened to shoot the grandmother on the scene, then taken her to the 47th precinct where she was held for hours while the cops worked her over, trying to get her to change her story:

EDENWALD — The NYPD cop accused of gunning down Ramarley Graham also threatened to shoot the slain teen's sobbing grandmother in the chaotic moments after cops burst into their Bronx apartment, a new lawsuit charges.

The blistering 108-page lawsuit filed by Graham's family details how plainclothes officers in street narcotics unit barged into their apartment, fired at the teen and hauled his grandmother away for hours of grueling questioning and intimidation.

Graham's family filed the lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court on Friday, on the eve of the anniversary of his death. They accused the NYPD of improperly training officers, unfairly targeting minorities in stop-and-frisks and trying to cover up the shooting of the 18-year-old.

Officer Richard Haste shot Graham in the chest on Feb. 2, 2012, after following the teen into his apartment bathroom. Graham's grandmother, Patricia Hartley, who was several feet away from Graham at the time, immediately cried out, "Why did you shoot him, why you killed him?" the lawsuit says.

Haste then pushed Hartley into a vase and said, "Get the f--- away before I have to shoot you, too," according to the lawsuit.

Hartley, who was 58 and weighed 85 pounds at the time, was then allegedly forced into a seat and had her arm twisted behind her back after she tried to make a phone call.

Cops eventually took Hartley to the 47th Precinct station house, where investigators called her a "f---ing liar" and claimed she was covering for the dead teen, whom cops believed had thrown a gun out a window, the lawsuit says. No gun was ever recovered, and a small bag of marijuana was found in the toilet.

Officers also allegedly dipped their hands into her coffee, then flicked their fingers against a wall to show how blood splatters. They also showed her a picture of a shot man they claimed was Graham, according to the lawsuit.

Hartley was allegedly locked in a station house room for nearly seven hours, and cops ignored her and her daughter's request to leave, the suit says. Hartley's lawyer says he was also denied access to her for more than 90 minutes. When Hartley was eventually released, she was treated at a hospital for trauma.

Officer Richard Haste was indicted on manslaughter charges in June 2012, but no charges for the alleged NYPD cover-up of the Graham shooting that took place at the 47th precinct were filed, nor did the mayor or the commissioner offer any soothing words to the family about how awful it is for an 85 pound grandmother to be worked over by the NYPD after they had threatened to shoot when she got upset over their shooting of her grandson.

A Bronx judge threw out the indictment against an NYPD officer in the fatal shooting of a Bronx teenager. 

The judge said the assistant district attorney made an accidental mistake to grand jury, which voted to indict Officer Richard Haste on manslaughter charges in the death of Ramarley Graham.

Graham's mother was in the courtroom at the time, reacted very emotionally and had to be removed from court.

"I am angry and cannot express my feelings alone," Constance Malcolm said. "I am ready to take it to the streets and the highest of the highest. Please be prepared for a major protest."

The family quickly condemned the decision.

"If it means going back to the grand jury or if we have to ask the federal court to deal with this case, we are going to keep fighting, no matter what," dad Frank Graham said. "Whereever it leads us, we will go there. We will never stop until justice is served in this case, until Richard Haste goes to prison for murdering our son. If we start over, we will start stronger."

"Murdering cops must be held accountable," said Frank Graham, Ramarley's father, "Tell Richard Haste we are not going to rest until he goes to prison."

The Daily News ran a extraordinary cover this morning lamenting the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the not guilty verdict of the man who admitted to shooting Martin, George Zimmerman, connecting this travesty of justice to others like the murder of Emmet Till.

But somehow the Daily News editors who are so broken up by the Martin murder and the Zimmerman verdict can't bring themselves to get all broken up about the murder of Ramarley Graham or the treatment his grandmother received at the hands of the NYPD officers in the 47th precinct.

Let's revisit this case once more:

Police broke into Graham's family's apartment and shot him right in front of his grandmother and little brother while he tried to flush a small bag of marijuana down the toilet, then threatened to shoot the grandmother if she didn't go passive at the scene.  They then took her down to the 47th precinct where they worked her over for seven hours, trying to get her to change her story about what she had witnessed at the scene of the shooting, calling her a "fucking liar" and other indelicate things while they put the pressure on her.

What happened to Trayvon Martin is a travesty and should not and cannot be forgotten.

Make no mistake about that.

But we have our own Trayvon Martins right here in New York City and we have our own George Zimmermans too - though here they sometimes wear blue shirts and shiny badges and get away with executing teenagers in their home for the crime of trying to flush some dope down the toilet.

I look forward to the Daily News expanding upon their extraordinary cover from this morning by putting Ramarely Graham on the cover and connecting his murder at the hands of the NYPD with all the other black men murdered by the cops in this city over the years  - from Amadou Diallo to Sean Bell to Patrick Dorismond.

But as usual with this sort of thing, I won't be holding my breath because, as I noted this morning 

the Daily News wants you to believe they're on the Justice For Trayvon Martin bandwagon while they conveniently ignore all the Trayvon Martins murdered here in New York City by the NYPD because linking those murders with Trayvon's doesn't fit into their ideological worldview.

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