|One of the banner drops in the Bronx on the morning of Aug. 8. Thousands driving past saw this call for justice|
In yet another show of the viciously racist character of the so-called justice system, on August 7 a grand jury refused to indict New York Police Department Officer Richard Haste, who murdered teenager Ramarley Graham in cold blood in the Bronx on Feb. 2, 2012. Ramarley’s Call, an organization that has been leading the struggle for justice, responded to the breaking news:
“Two weeks before George Zimmerman took Trayvon Martin’s life in Florida, NYPD Officer Richard Haste killed Ramarley Graham in his own home in front of his grandmother and six-year-old brother.
"Soon after Richard Haste killed Ramarley a Bronx grand jury indicted him on two counts of manslaughter. Last May Judge Steven Barrett dismissed the indictment because of a mistake made by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office when instructing the original grand jury.
"Ramarley’s family and supporters worked tirelessly to ensure a new grand jury was convened. However, today this new grand jury failed to indict NYPD Richard Haste, in spite of the fact that Ramarley was unarmed and didn’t run. In spite of the fact Haste broke into his home and killed him in cold blood.”
Constance Malcolm, Ramarley’s mother, expressed her outrage, saying “I was just informed that ‘Murderer’ Richard Haste will NOT BE RE-INDICTED. I cannot believe the system is allowing Richard Haste who KILLED MY SON in the bathroom of his own home to go home to his family and able to look into their faces and smile.”
Ms. Malcolm also conveyed her determination to continue the fight, “However, I can assure you that this will not end like any other… I will take it to the highest. I will make sure Richard Haste pays for his crime.”
Bronx community members and people from all over the city immediately took action. Early the following morning, activists dropped huge banners in two different locations in the Bronx that read “JUSTICE for Trayvon & Ramarley – JAIL for Zimmerman and Office Haste.”
A well-attended press conference was held at 1pm at the District Attorney’s office, where a variety of speakers denounced the grand jury decision and drew attention to the epidemic of racial profiling, especially the NYPD’s notorious “stop and frisk” practice. Representatives from the National Action Network, the Nation of Islam, Stop Stop and Frisk, Cop Watch and others spoke to the large crowd of media and supporters. At 5pm, a rally was held at 198 E 161st St.