Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wakefield News: Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter

Wakefield News: Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter: COMMUNITY BOARD NEWS N’ VIEWS By Father Richard F. Gorman Chairman Community Board #12 (The Bronx) BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST...

Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter


Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 14- On the 15th of May this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven L. Barrett, after hearing evidence in the trial of Police Officer Richard Haste for manslaughter in the shooting of Ramarley Graham on 2 February 2012, ruled that the indictment of Officer Haste was dismissed in light of the improper instructions given to the grand
jury that had voted to indict the Forty-seventh Precinct cop. 

Justice Barrett decided that the grand jury may have come to a different decision if its members had fully considered that Officer Haste’s fellow Police Officers had informed him that Ramarley Graham was armed. The grand jury had been directed by prosecutors in the Office of the District Attorney of Bronx County not to give any weight to this fact in considering whether or not to indict Officer Haste. A second grand jury was quickly empanelled to weigh a re-indictment of the Police Officer and was clearly told this time to take into account that Richard Haste was warned that Mr. Graham possibly had a gun. 

On Wednesday, 7 August 2013, this second grand jury declined to present a second indictment of Police Officer Haste for manslaughter. Understandably, the family of Ramarley Graham, most particularly his parents, Constance Malcolm and Franclot Graham, reacted with great indignation and resentment to the ruling of this second grand jury.

Among other actions undertaken, there was a rally this Saturday afternoon past, 11 August 2013, on Laconia Avenue directly in front of the main entrance of the Forty-seventh Police Precinct to which Officer Haste and his colleagues involved in this tragic incident had been assigned.

Reflecting on this serious and sad matter that has held such a foremost place in the recent life of Bronx Community District #12, I would like to share a few thoughts and feelings with my neighbors and fellow Bronxites. First, and most importantly of all, irrespective of any legal issues at argument or of any personal opinions concerning the parties to this matter, the shooting of Ramarley Graham is a tragedy. A young man is dead. The facts that may have led up to it aside, the loss of any human life always involves pain, always entails grief. Ramarley Graham’s Parents and other loved ones are now deprived of his presence and his company. As I said, whatever else that can and
should be said about this unhappy episode, let us not forget or be
insensitive to the human cost at stake, not only to the young man who is dead but to those who must survive and go on in the wake of his passing. The loss of a loved one is always a heartache that is practically unbearable to abide and to accept. 

Our sympathy and compassion must not be absent or withheld from those who mourn. Further, I can likewise understand the frustration of the Graham Family and others who question the vitality and the veracity of a legal system that appears not be working on behalf of their interests and needs. There is no argument, even from those involved in law enforcement and the judicial process, that our system of laws and courts is far from perfect. It definitely has its defects. It also depends upon the work of people, folks just like the rest of us, who work hard and honestly and who attempt to do the best that they can with the resources allocated to them. People are not perfect. The only two perfect human persons ever to walk the face of this earth, so far as I know, are Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother. All the rest of us have our weaknesses, shortcomings, and flaws. No system, judicial or otherwise, reliant upon people can be any more perfect that the people who comprise it.

This being said, while not unflawed or unfaultable, our system of laws and courts is the envy of the entire world. It may not always get the job done or accomplish things as we would wish, but, more often than not, it works. Moreover, realizing that mistakes can and are in actuality made, it provides for appeals and various means by which one can seek justice and pursue the satisfaction of one’s cause. In the immediate case of Ramarley Graham, his Parents can, and have been successful in seeking, a review of what has taken place in The Bronx by the United States Department of Justice (U.S.D.O.J.). The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has determined that it will investigate whether or not the shooting of Ramarley Graham violates any provisions of our Federal Civil Rights laws. Additionally, the possibility of a civil action on behalf of the Graham Family can be instituted. Reports are that such an option is seriously being pondered at this time. If feasible, a civil cause of action should be introduced.

However, in the upset and unrest of the moment, let us not fail to
remember an equally important truth  --  viz., that the members of the New York City Police Department (N.Y.P.D.) are, by and large, truly “NEW YORK’S FINEST.” You and I are able to live comfortably in our homes, shop on our commercial strips, pray in our Churches, have our children educated in our schools, and live in relative safety because of the dedication of the men and the women of the N.Y.P.D. Even as they were preparing to accommodate the Graham Family’s decision to have a demonstration in front of the Forty-seventh Precinct on Saturday, the Supervisors and the Officers of the “4 -7” and Patrol Borough Bronx (P.B.B.X.) were investigating a murder a mere stone’s throw away from the Precinct on the intersection of East 233RD Street and Paulding Avenue. Is New York City  --  and Community Board #12 (The Bronx)  --  safer than was the case ten years ago?  ABSOLUTELY . . . . . and the most significant factor in this development was the commitment of our Police Officers to serve and to protect us, even at the cost of their own personal safety, physical well being, and life.

This essential point must be borne in mind as well, even as the adjudication of the Ramarley Graham shooting continues. I conclude by expressing genuine thanks to Franclot Graham, Constance Malcolm, and their supporters for the peaceful and dignified manner in which they conducted themselves this Saturday past. I trust that they know that they have been, are, and will always remain uppermost in our thoughts and prayers. I likewise give thanks for the fine and professional performance of our Police Officers. My special appreciation goes to Assistant Chief Carlos Gomez, Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Bronx (P.B.B.X.) and his leadership team for their presence and thoughtful attention during some rather difficult days.

Closer to home, my hat is off to Deputy Inspector Brian Mullen, Commanding Officer of the Forty-seventh Precinct, and all of our local Police Officers for their sensitive care and comportment, in particular our Community Affairs Officers Dave Belle and Jason Soto.

I pray that all in Community Board #12 (The Bronx), as we continue to face the challenges of each day, will continue to act with calm dignity and to strive for peace in our neighborhood.

Until next time, that is it for this time!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

Wakefield News: 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Wakefield News: 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indict a police officer in the shooting of a Bronx man.

"I am deeply saddened and extremely shocked by today's news of a failure to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. "I am especially sorry for the Graham family, who has seen their quest for justice for their son twice denied.

"The NYPD must now pursue departmental charges against Officer Haste. Whether criminal or not, his reckless actions led to the death of Ramarley Graham, and the police department needs to take a serious look at his qualifications to serve our city," said Diaz.

On February 2, 2012, Officer Richard Haste chased after Graham as part of a drug investigation. The officer cornered Graham in the bathroom and identified himself as a cop. Police officials said Haste opened fire after he mistakenly thought Graham had a gun. A bag of marijuana was discovered near the body and investigators believe Graham was trying to flush it down the toilet.

Haste was charged in the shooting but a Bronx judge tossed the charges because prosecutors made a mistake when presenting the charges to the grand jury.

"We are surprised and shocked by the Grand Jury’s finding of no criminal liability in the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson. "We are saddened for the family of the deceased young man and still believe that the court’s dismissal of the original indictment was overly cautious.”

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cops Hunt Not-Too Bright Robbers

By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 7- Keeping a low-profile does not appear to be on a trio of robbers’ minds. Cops released surveillance video of three suspects wearing bright yellow and red shirts when they allegedly went to stickup a Wakefield woman.
On July 24, cops say a trio of thieves walked into 645 East 231 Street, sported a handgun and tied up a woman inside the building. The thieves took jewelry and an undisclosed amount of cash. Before fleeing, the suspects images were captured on the surveillance video in the building’s lobby. 
The trio wore day-glo yellow an red t-shirts. Cops say the suspects are black men in their 20s and at least two members of the group had a Caribbean accent.
Another pair of robbers tried to keep a lower profile but were not exactly masters of disguise. The men, both large and in their 40s, looked a little too overweight and old to be bike messengers  like the way they were dressed. 
The pair struck an apartment building near Pelham Bay Station in broad daylight. At around 11:30 a.m. on June 11, the men armed with backpacks walked into 3104 Wilkerson Avenue near the local Keyfood Supermarket. The pair made their way inside an apartment and woke the 24-year-old resident. The resident struggled with the suspects who then fled with only about $150. The robbers tried to make a quick getaway but their images were captured on the lobby’s surveillance camera.
Anyone with information should call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577-TIPS. 
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website at or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.