Community Holds Vigil for Unarmed Man Gunned Down by Police

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Hundreds of friends and family members held a vigil outside the Bronx home of an unarmed man who was shot and killed by police last week.  

Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot dead by an officer who chased him into his home last Thursday and fired at close range inside the bathroom.

Graham's father, Franclot Graham, addressed the crowd, saying that his son's name was being dragged through the mud, but that Ramarley "deserved justice." He thanked people for coming and asked for a peaceful march.

Many who attended the gathering said they came out not only for Ramarley but out of concern for their own loved ones. "I have a 14 year old son that's already been stopped and frisked" Justina Piggot said. "My child is a good boy, he doesn't bother anybody. If I don’t stand up, it could be my son, it could have been my son."

In the early evening, the crowd marched to the 47th precinct as they did last week, again calling for justice.

They were led by Graham's father, Franclot Graham, mother Constance Malcom and grandmother Patricia Harley through the streets. At times the marchers chanted "No entry, no warrant."

(Photo: Ramarley Graham's father, grandmother and mother lead a march to the 47th Police Precinct. Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Last week, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that Graham "appeared to be armed," but that in fact no weapon was recovered. The NYPD said it's investigating the shooting and that officers have already been placed on restricted duty.

The shooting of Graham was the third time in a week that an NYPD officer killed a criminal suspect.

Community Demands Answers in Police Involved Shooting

Saturday, February 04, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Approximately 100 Bronx residents held a vigil and then marched to the 47th Police Precinct Friday night to protest the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham by a police officer. Earlier in the day, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said a supervising sergeant and the officer who fatally shot the unarmed Graham had been placed on restricted duty.

Protesters marched from Graham's home to the 47th precinct. (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

A candlelight vigil took place Friday night outside of the home of the 18-year-old Ramarley Graham who killed by the NYPD officer. People were holding signs that read “black men: endangered species” and “stop killing our kids.”


Sharla Buchanan lives on 229th street, across from the Graham family. “I’m here because my neighbor got killed by a police officer in his own home. I’m angry because I live on this block. I got kids, nephews, uncles and their life is in danger by the police. They’re killing us."

Juan Tavares, 26, was one of the marchers that went to the precinct demanding answer. He also knew Graham. He said young black men can't trust the cops, so he doesn't blame Graham for running from them.

"I would run from the police, all of us would run from the police, " he said. "I could have been out here with nothing in my pocket and they give me the vibe that they're coming for me and I feel like I have the right to get away, I'm getting away."

(Photo: A memorial outside of Graham's home. Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Kelly offered his sympathies to Graham's grandmother, who witnessed the shooting in their apartment, earlier in the day. 


Elected officials in the Bronx are demanding a complete investigation into the fatal shooting.


Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement that officers "must be better trained to deal with the communities they work in, to better respect the lives of those they are charged with protecting and serving."


"We can no longer tolerate our young men and women falling victim to excessive violence at the hands of our police, or worse yet," he said, "lose their lives unjustly."


Diaz and other community leaders will meet with police officials Saturday to discuss the shooting.



Graham was shot and killed when police chased him into his home. Police say the officer killed the unarmed 18-year-old drug suspect in his home Thursday after a foot pursuit.


"We obviously have some real concerns, and until we know what really happened there’s not a lot else I can say," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday.


The shooting occurred at about 3 p.m. Thursday in the Bronx. Plainclothes officers wearing NYPD raid jackets were there investigating street corner drug dealing, department spokesman Paul Browne said.


The suspect, Ramarley Graham, took off on foot and rounded a corner toward his home, police said. An officer pursued him into the second-floor apartment, police said.


The officer fired one shot at close range from his 9mm semiautomatic handgun, Browne said. The victim was struck in the chest and collapsed inside the bathroom. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Kelly was asked at a briefing Friday whether investigators now believe a struggle occurred before the shooting. He said no. In their preliminary account of the incident, police had said there was a struggle.


Kelly said that a bag of marijuana was found in the home. He also said that Graham "appeared to be armed," but that in fact no weapon was recovered.


(Photo: Kelly briefing the press on the Ramarley Graham shooting. Ailsa Chang/WNYC)


Browne said two other police officers and family members of the victim, including his grandmother, were inside the apartment at the time of the shooting.


Investigators were interviewing potential witnesses, and the shooting remained under investigation, he said. The name of the 30-year-old officer was not released. He joined the police force in 2008 and had not been involved in any previous shootings, Browne said.


The victim's distraught mother, Constance Malcolm, said nobody deserves "to get shot like that, in your own house."


"Everybody's kids get into trouble," she said. "He smoked a little weed like all the other young kids do, and that's what he had on him when they were chasing him."


The shooting of Graham was the third time in a week that an NYPD officer killed a criminal suspect.