February 2 marked five years since New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Richard Haste shot and killed Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18-year-old Black man, inside his Bronx home. With Haste still employed by the department and no disciplinary action for the other involved officers, Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm led hundreds of supporters to demand Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill fire them.
CPR Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) February 3, 2017
“There’s been two different mayors and three different police commissioners since my son was killed, but there has still been no justice—I never thought I’d still be fighting for just basic accountability five years after they killed Ramarley,” Malcolm said at the protest last night, according to a press release emailed to Colorlines via Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). The advocacy collective is part of the Rise Up 4 Ramarley campaign, which organized the action with Graham’s family.
CPR Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) February 2, 2016
The New York Daily News reported that nearly 250 people participated in the rally, which started near City Hall. A CPR spokesperson confirmed to Colorlines that the crowd included several relatives of Black people killed by the NYPD, including Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; Sean Bell’s mother, Valerie Bell; Kimani Gray’s mother, Carol Gray; and Shantel Davis’ sister, Natasha Duncan.
Attendees and supporters tweeted throughout the rally using the hashtag #FireHaste. Malcolm, Gray and Duncan led the protest from City Hall through Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge. There, the action joined Yemeni-American bodega owners striking against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel for people from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen.
The action specifically demanded the firing of Haste, Sgt. Scott Morris, Officer John McLoughlin and the other officers who are implicated in Graham’s shooting death. The New York Times reported on January 16 that the three officers named above face possible departmental charges for their actions on February 2, 2012. Haste faces possible discipline and termination for the judgement he exercised in firing the bullet that killed Graham. Morris, the officers’ supervisor, is charged with “failure to notify police communications and failure to supervise members during a police incident.” And Haste’s partner, McLoughlin, is charged with “conduct prejudicial to the good order of the police department.” The Times also revealed that Haste’s salary has grown nearly $31,000 since 2012.
Malcolm criticized the city’s handling of her son’s death in a Times op-ed preceding the protest. “Leadership requires more than rhetoric—it comes from confronting police abuse with action,” she wrote. “New York City must fire all the officers who engaged in misconduct in my son’s killing, and ensure the same for officers guilty of misconduct in all police abuse.”