Hundreds of people filled a Bronx church yesterday for the funeral of the 18 year old teen killed by police on February 2nd.
The Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church was packed with family and friends of Ramarley Graham to pay their last respects. The young man’s father, Franclot Graham, kissed his son on his forehead in a last goodbye.
“This was an unnatural and inexcusable occasion because this young man was killed in an unjust way”, said Al Sharpton, who spoke at the funeral service. “The reason why we are outraged is if he is not safe in his bathroom, none of us are safe.” Councilman Larry Seabrook and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz were also in attendance at yesterday’s service.
The Special Narcotics Unit from the 47th Precinct were investigating an alleged drug deal when they saw Graham, who they believed had a gun in his waistband. Officer Richard Haste, 30, along with three other officers, gave chase to Graham into his home and into his bathroom where he was shot and killed by Haste. No weapon was recovered at the scene. Only a bag of marijuana, which Ramarley was trying to dispose of in the toilet.
Graham’s killing is part of a nationwide problem in which Black youth are dying in the hands of the police department. More specifically in NYC, this has been the adverse effect of the NYPD’s flaw-laden ‘stop and frisk’ program.
“Are you going to arrest everyone and shoot everyone whose pants are sagging?”, said Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, minister of Temple No. 7 of the Nation Of Islam in Harlem. “He didn’t display a gun. He didn’t fire a gun. No gun! A Black man can’t stand on the corner anymore.”
After the service, the crowd yelled at the NYPD officers who stood post across the street from the church, calling them “murderers”. Even with murder accusations against the NYPD, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly did not attend Graham’s funeral.