Civil Rights leaders are reflecting on the recent trials of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, and the ongoing attempts to re-indict Richard Haste (pictured), the NYPD officer who murdered Ramarley Graham in the Bronx last year.
In a release that was made public on Monday, Council Member Andy King remarked:
Ramarley Graham’s death was a tragedy which shook the members of my community and left us with heavy hearts. The subsequent struggle to obtain justice in this case has only served to add feelings of confusion and indignation. The recent not-guilty ruling on the George Zimmerman case has sparked similar feelings across the nation and both cases highlight a pattern of racial profiling and a failure of the system to hold accountable those who murder our young men of color.
Yes, the new grand jury convened for the Ramarley Graham case is an important victory, but in 2013 we should not have to plead for justice in a legal system that is already tasked with protecting us from discrimination and racial profiling. We will have to remain focused and committed as we work to break down this system of indifference towards the injustices we find ourselves facing nationwide.”
Though the Bronx District Attorney’s office began a new jury process to consider re-indicting Haste last week, the leaders said this case — along with the Martin case — shows that racial profiling is still strong in America:
According to Civil Rights leaders and Graham’s supporters, racial profiling, the undervaluing of the lives of Black and Brown youth, and failures of the criminal justice system are common denominators of the Ramarley Graham and Trayvon Martin cases. They project a long struggle for justice in both cases.
Whether it’s Stand Your Ground or Stop and Frisk, we will continue to demand an end to racial profiling and policies that jeopardize the safety of young Black men like Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham,” said Rashad Robinson, Director of ColorOfChange.
ColorOfChange members remain deeply committed to seeking justice for Trayvon and Ramarley. We will not be satisfied until George Zimmerman and Ramarley’s killer – NYPD Officer Richard Haste – are both held accountable and until there’s an end to racial profiling and the violence it creates.
Even if a successful indictment happens this time, leaders want to ensure that Haste does not get away with killing Graham.
Earlier this year, Bronx Judge Steven Barrett dismissed the indictment against Haste for two manslaughter counts in Graham’s death, blaming an error made by Assistant D.A. Nancy Borko while instructing jurors. The new grand jury will hear witness statements and consider evidence against Haste over the next few weeks before deciding whether to re-indict Haste or let him remain free.
Loyda Colon of the Justice Committee, a group that supports family members who have lost loved-ones to police and racial violence, added:
The new grand jury is an important victory, but it is only one small step on a long road to justice, said Loyda Colon of the Justice Committee, a group that supports family members who have lost loved-ones to police and racial violence.
As we have seen with the Zimmerman acquittal, too often the system fails to hold those who kill Black and Brown youth accountable. We do not want this case to be a repeat of the injustice done to Trayvon and his family. Now, more than ever, it’s important that New Yorkers continue to demand justice for Ramarley Graham and support his family.
If you want to know how you can join the cause for getting justice for both Martin and Graham, call Yul-san Liem at 347-676-1878.