By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY., Fri. Sept. 16, 2016: A Brooklyn-New York Congressman is urging the New York Police Department (NYPD) to fire the cop who shot and killed a Jamaican-American teenager.
U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership and House Judiciary Committee, made the call this week, surrounded by Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, the murdered Jamaican-American teen as well as Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network and Mark Winston-Griffith of the Brooklyn Movement Center.
In February 2012, Officer Richard Haste chased 18-year-old Graham, whose mother is Jamaican, into his home in the Bronx and fatally shot him – a decision a prosecutor called “neither reasonable or justifiable.”
Officer Haste had chased Graham over the alleged purchase of a small amount of marijuana. Security video showed Graham entering his grandmother’s home and police running after him. Police at the time said officers witnessed a drug deal and pursued Graham, believing he had a gun.
They went in and found him in the second-floor bathroom and ended up shooting him in the chest. He died shortly afterward.
A grand jury indicted Officer Haste but a judge later threw the indictment out because he said the prosecutor failed to tell jurors about the cop’s claim that other cops told him Graham was armed. A second grand jury declined to indict. Last August, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced they would be reviewing the case. More than a year later, this September, they confirmed an investigation was under way.
Officer Haste has received nearly $25,000 in raises since killing Ramarley Graham four years ago. Haste earned a salary of approximately $76,000 in the 2015 fiscal year and received over $2,000 in overtime pay and $10,147 in “other pay.” In fiscal year 2012, Haste earned a salary of over $53,000, plus nearly $9,000 in overtime and close to $4,800 in other pay. Haste was indicted by a grand jury, but the indictment was tossed out because of a prosecutorial mistake.
“It’s been over six months since the excuse Mayor de Blasio had been using to justify disciplinary inaction – his waiting for a decision by Preet Bharara’s office (that was refuted by Bharara’s office) – has disappeared. Yet, the de Blasio administration has still taken no action to fire Haste or any of the 12+ other officers who engaged in misconduct related to my son’s killing,” commented Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm. “The fact that Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD gives increased overtime and pay raises to officers who kill our children is disgusting, a betrayal to my family (and others), and all New York City taxpayers. The excuses continue, and New Yorkers should be asking serious questions about why their mayor is perpetuating the problem of police violence in our city, setting a horrible national example that is shameful.”
“Mayor de Blasio should fire all 12+ officers who engaged in misconduct related to the killing of my son Ramarley, as well as any other brutality incidents perpetrated by NYPD officers. It’s time for him to stop passing the buck and take responsibility, because he is allowing this travesty of justice to continue on his watch and under his administration,” Malcolm added.
Constance Malcolm, Ramarley’s mother, has been fighting for justice for Ramarley ever since.
Ramarley was one of three siblings — he had an older sister and a younger brother.
Malcolm immigrated to the United States from Jamaica when she was young and lived in the Bronx.
Meanwhile, in the case of Eric Garner Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an officer with a history of disciplinary issues, asphyxiated Garner on a sidewalk in Staten Island in 2014, despite Garner declaring 11 separate times that he could not breathe.
Officer Pantaleo was placed on modified desk duty shortly after Garner’s death in 2015. That year, Pantaleo made $105,061 with overtime. In FY 2016, he made $119,996 ($23,000 of that was in overtime, while another $12,853 came from “unspecified pay,” which could include bonuses or retroactive pay).
“The administration’s coddling of police officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Richard Haste – both of whom took the life of innocent, unarmed African-American men – is unacceptable and unconscionable,” said Congressman Jeffries. “The majority of New York City police officers are hardworking public servants who are in the community to protect and serve. However, those police officers who cross the line and take the life of innocent civilians without justification must be held accountable, not rewarded with overtime and bonus pay.”