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Vol. 76/No. 7      February 20, 2012

(front page)
Hundreds protest killing of
Black youth by New York cop
Militant/Ruth Robinett
Some 500 people gather in Bronx, N.Y., Feb. 6 to protest killing four days earlier of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, gunned down by an undercover narcotics cop in his home.

BRONX, New York—Some 500 people at a Feb. 6 protest condemned the police killing here of Ramarley Graham, marching from the victim’s home to the nearby police precinct headquarters. Graham is the fourth person to be shot by cops in New York City in the last month.

An undercover narcotics cop shot and killed 18-year-old Graham inside Graham’s apartment Feb. 2 in Wakefield, a heavily Black and Caribbean neighborhood. Video from surveillance cameras at the home show Graham walking up the sidewalk and entering the house. Seconds later two police officers run up and after finding the door locked attempt to kick it in. After several minutes the cops gained access into the building through the back door and then broke down the door to the second floor apartment.

The cops claim they saw a gun on Graham, but New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly admitted to the press that there is no evidence he was armed. Kelly claimed that cops found a bag of marijuana in the apartment’s toilet near where Graham was killed. Since the shooting two cops—Richard Haste, who pulled the trigger, and his supervisor, Sgt. Scott Morris—have been stripped of their guns and badges and put on desk duty.

Graham’s six-year-old brother and his grandmother, Patricia Hartley, witnessed the shooting. Hartley was immediately taken into custody and held for seven hours at the precinct house. She was released only after Bronx State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson went to the precinct house and asked if Hartley was being held against her will.

“They dragged his name through the mud,” his father, Frank Graham, told the crowd, referring to reports in the media from unnamed police sources that Ramarley had eight prior arrests.

“I want you to know Ramarley was a wonderful, quiet kid. He always carried a small Jamaican flag in his back pocket, not a gun,” Lisa Johnson told the Militant. “Maybe he did smoke weed, lots of high school students do. But that shouldn’t matter. This could have been anyone’s family member in this neighborhood.”

“They are murderers. Get it in your head,” Bronx resident Yolanda Matthews shouted at a TV news crew. “We are tired.”

“When they kill young people, the cops claim drugs or guns. The cops frame them,” Molly Gordon, whose two children grew up and went to school with Graham, said in a Feb. 5 interview. “The cops had no warrant to enter the apartment. We are not animals. This happens mostly to Black people. They need to take the cops off the force.”

“I saw the video on TV where the cops were running to the apartment following Ramarley,” said Winston Blake, a construction worker. “This is a total injustice. There was no threat to the cops to justify this murder.”

Duane Browne, 26, was shot and killed by cops Jan. 12 while in his pajamas when cops responded to an attempted burglary 911 call. On Jan. 26 Christopher Kissane was killed while allegedly stealing a car. He was shot from a distance of 78 feet, “which is remarkable shooting,” said police spokesperson Paul Browne. On Jan. 29 an off-duty cop shot and killed 17-year-old Antwain White.

Dan Fein contributed to this article.
Related articles:
Prosecute cops who killed Graham!
NY cops step up targeting of Black youth with drug laws, stop and frisk
Australia: death in police custody sparks protest  
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