There are different accounts of what took place. The police’s story is already falling apart. Here is the best sense I can make of it ten days after the murder:
On Thursday afternoon, February 2nd 2012, Graham and two friends come out of a corner shop at White Plains Road and East 228th Street in the Bronx. The police are watching the shop because they know that marijuana is being sold there. But instead of going after the owner, they follow Graham and his friends.
They think Graham has a gun: because of how he adjusted his waistband and the “way he carried himself”. Later one of them “sees” part of a gun sticking out of his waistband.
Graham walks up to his house and goes in. Seconds later four policemen run up with guns drawn. They try to kick down the door. One of them gets in through a back way and lets the others in.
They run up to the second floor where Graham lived and break open the door. They pull a gun on his grandmother. Graham runs into the bathroom. They follow. Bang! His six-year-old brother starts screaming: “They killed my brother!”
They search the place: no gun at all. Just a small bag of marijuana, probably not even enough to get arrested for.
They took his grandmother to the police station for questioning. They held her for seven hours, not letting her take her heart medicine. They forced a statement out of her.
About 85% of all people stopped and frisked are black or Latino –
- even though only 52% of the city is black and Latino,
- even though whites are just as likely to have drugs,
- even though whites are more likely to carry weapons.
And sometimes it goes beyond stopping and frisking. Sometimes beatings are included. Or sodomy. Or being thrown in jail for a day or two even when they find nothing on you.
And in Graham’s case, it led to murder.
The killer cop is Officer Richard Haste, a 30-year-old white man. The police have taken away his gun and badge and put him on desk duty while they “review” the matter.
The Bronx district attorney’s office is looking into it, which could lead to a trial. Hundreds of Graham’s neighbours have protested the killing. Featured chant: “NYPD – KKK”. Al Sharpton says he is not going to let this one rest.