More on Ramarley Graham

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Huffington Post’s John Rudolf has more on that deadly police shooting in the Bronx.

A week after police shot to death an unarmed 18-year-old in his grandmother’s Bronx apartment, questions continue to swirl around the aggressive police tactics that led to the fatal confrontation.

Ramarley Graham died last Thursday after Richard Haste, 30, a New York police officer, kicked down the door of his grandmother’s apartment and shot Graham in the chest while he attempted to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet. Graham was unarmed and police did not have a warrant to enter the home.

It looks as if this was a stop-and-frisk that went south. Graham first came to the cops’ attention while leaving a bodega under investigation for drug activity. He ran when they asked him to stop,likely because he had pot on him. That’s not a crime in New York (so long as its an amount small enough for personal use). But as we all now know, once they’ve stopped you, the cops will then trick you into “displaying” it, at which point it becomes a crime.

Footage from private surveillance cameras shows Graham walking into his grandmother’s apartment building, a three-story home on a residential street.

Police officers, guns drawn, quickly follow and attempt to kick down the front door after finding it locked. In the back of the building, other officers swarm in through a rear apartment. The cameras do not capture what transpired inside, but police officials confirmed that officers entered the grandmother’s apartment with force and without a warrant.

The large number of officers at the house indicated that Graham wasn’t likely to escape and that officers could have waited to obtain a warrant before storming the apartment, said Emdin, the Graham family’s attorney.

“They can’t take matters into their own hands like this and violate the Constitution,” Emdin said.

John Wesley Hall, a criminal defense attorney in Little Rock, Ark. who has argued cases involving police searches before the Supreme Court, said a police suspicion that Graham might be carrying an illegal handgun was insufficient justification for breaking down his door.

“If they thought he had a gun, they should have stopped him on the street and not waited for him to go inside,” Hall said. “Any reasonable officer would have known that they needed a warrant to get into the house.”

The most crucial question facing Haste, the shooting officer, will surround his actions inside the apartment.

Haste’s partner told investigators that Haste identified himself as a police officer, told Graham to “show his hands” and then yelled “gun, gun” before firing, Kelly said.

But Graham’s grandmother maintains that officers did not announce their presence before kicking down her door and that Haste did not say anything to Graham before shooting him, Emdin said.

“I asked her if they said ‘police’ when they entered,” Emdin said. “She says 100 percent no.”

The police also initially said Graham “struggled” with the cop who shot him, but then retracted that story the next day. I’m not sure it really even matters if the cops identified themselves, given that the kid was unarmed when they shot him. If we take the police story at face value, the cops twice saw a gun that they have yet to find, and doesn’t appear to have existed.

Add another body to the drug war pile.

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15 Responses to “More on Ramarley Graham”

  1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Ok, so now we know cops yell, “Gun, gun!” right before they shoot you, just like they yell “Stop resisting, stop resisting” while they’re beating the shit out of you.

  2. #2 |  Stick | 

    ‘ “They can’t take matters into their own hands like this and violate the Constitution,” Emdin said. ‘
    – But they do, and they get away with it – if the stories I read here and elsewhere are any indication – most of the time.

  3. #3 |  30 year lawyer | 

    As usual the police story gets better and better as they learn what they need to say.

    Apparently, the NYPD did leard one lesson from the 41 shots fired at Amadou Diallo, they have added this to their “prepared remarks” in all shootings: Haste’s partner told investigators that Haste . . . yelled “gun, gun” before firing, Kelly said.

  4. #4 |  Jamie | 

    we take the police story at face value, the cops twice saw a gun that they have yet to find, and doesn’t appear to have existed.

    Preaching to the choir here, I know, but it is important to keep in mind:

    – actually dangerous situations involving suspects with guns seem to cause a shift in police tactics, involving waiting the suspect out. Actual situations vary, of course, but this Rambo shit seems to generally not happen when they know ahead of time that the situation is dangerous.*

    – “they’re just a bunch of fascists” isn’t a good explanation for why cops act like this. There are deeper causes behind the absurd, tragic militarization of peace officers.

    – As ubiquitous surveillance becomes the norm, people need to ensure that access is as open as possible. *

    * there are second order implications there about surveillance that I’m not getting in to here, but are important. Yes, same footnote for both.

  5. #5 |  Jselvy | 

    Remember that “gun,gun” is the police version of the famous South Park “It’s coming right for us!”

  6. #6 |  Carl-Bear | 

    I’m getting old. I remember when cops carried a spare throwdown to plant on dead (unarmed) suspects.

    Now, “I’m off my (or on unapproved) meds and hallucinated a purply-and-neon-spangly-starred-gun that shot beams of glitter and felt in fear for my cowardly life” is all it takes.

  7. #7 |  terrence | 

    Cops are pigs. Period. Full Stop. – the murderer, his partners in crime, their bosses, the scum bag pigs who LIED through their teeth to try to cover their a$$es are ALL PIGS. Any cop who does not publicly denounce these murdering scum-bag PIGS are PIGS themselves.

    The murdering PIG should be in jail, pending his murder trail, and a potential death sentence.

    I know, I know, PIGS are above the law, and peasants and serfs are subject to the law and random murder by the PIGS – especially if the peasnat is black.

  8. #8 |  John P. | 

    By yelling gun! The cops can simply justify any shooting now…

    Its the same as them yelling for a person to stop resisting while 5 cops, piled onto of another person, all beat the crap out of the “suspect”…

    We have reached a point where cops are now justifying murder of unarmed people by simple saying they thought they saw a gun…

    Half of L.A. County ‘waistband shootings’ involve unarmed people…

  9. #9 |  John P. | 

    Simply reaching for your wallet these days, a normal act when a cop asks for your ID… will get you killed…

  10. #10 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    He’s Got A Gun = Stop Resisting = It’s coming right for us!

    Just another mantra they chant to absolve themselves of any responsibility.

  11. #11 |  Bergman | 

    Well of COURSE he’s resisting. Their fists aren’t passing through his body, their punches are bouncing off his bones. Therefore he’s resisting them!

  12. #12 |  John P. | 

    Just another mantra they chant to absolve themselves of any responsibility.

    Its how the psychologically justify their actions, its also how they provoke the pack response mentality.

    There is a psychological term or classification for this act. I saw it used recently in an article describing how these flash mobs all get whipped into a frenzy then start hurting people. Like that flash mob in Philly did when they killed that old man.

    What we are seeing here is no different, except the attackers are cloaked in police garb.

  13. #13 |  CyniCAl | 

    Lynching is alive and well and living in NYC.

  14. #14 |  Roho | 

    #11 – Bergman

    Hm. They could start using that for willy-nilly deployment of the Tazer, too. After all, if the subject weren’t resisting, the Tazer wouldn’t even work!

  15. #15 |  Ingrid | 

    Did anyone catch the news last night on 2/14/12? Yet, a 3rd case of a cop being shot and hit in less than a month. These civil servants risk their lives everyday trying to protect ungrateful civilians. True, like with every job, there may be a few bad seeds; however, they work in one of our Nation’s biggest cities. Criminals are the ones who think they are above the law; those running from the cops are in the wrong. Police can be trigger happy because they’ve attended so many funerals with fallen brothers and sisters because criminals shot them down in moments of doubt. It is a dangerous time. If they hadn’t have barged in and the scenario turned in another direction- (I.E. the kid shot people in a house he was trying to hide in) you’d be crucifying the police for not using force to enter the building. It is a lose-lose for them. You people will never be happy. You’d rather it be vigilantes running the streets and legalized drugs getting your kids and grandparents hooked and stoned. What a world.