For Ramarley Graham’s Family, Frustration Seems to Have No End

The parents of the young Black man shot and killed by police in New York City are seeking justice for their son, but are exasperated by the wait.

Posted: 04/29/2014 01:17 PM EDT
For Ramarley Graham’s Family, Frustration Seems to Have No End

It has been nearly two weeks since Ramarley Graham’s family commemorated his 21st birthday. And it is another two weeks before Mother’s Day. It is a convergence of events that has become almost too much for his family to bear.

“These are very difficult times for the family,” said Royce Russell, the attorney for the family of the unarmed African-American man who was killed by police in his parents’ home in the Bronx in 2012. “They are trying to deal with things as best they can, but it’s been extremely challenging for them, emotionally,” Russell said, speaking with BET.com.

It is a case that has been the topic of great attention in New York City and beyond, having often been compared with the Trayvon Martin case. Graham was shot by officers who followed him into his home and broke into the bathroom before killing him. While charges against the officers were dismissed by a court in New York, federal prosecutors have said they would look into the case. So far, the family is waiting to see what will come of that.

In the meantime, the parents are restless, eager to see what the federal government will do while continuing to deal with the anguish of having lost their loved one.

Constance Malcolm, the mother of the dead teenager, remains emotionally distraught, Russell said. “She is not doing well and, having just gone through his birthday and, with Mother’s Day coming up, she’s not going well at all.”

Meanwhile, Russell said, Graham’s father has been “deeply depressed over this” in recent months.

Officer Richard Haste was charged with manslaughter in the death of Graham, which took place Feb. 2, 2012. But a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered that the charges against Haste be dropped. Acting Justice Steven Barrett said in his ruling that the prosecution failed to give precise instructions to the grand jury that indicted Haste.

The family, which is planning to conduct a rally in downtown Manhattan on Mother’s Day, has been somewhat encouraged by the increased support they have received from elected officials and community organizations, Russell said.

“There have been a growing number of people who are asking for the federal government to actually take some action,” he said. He added that the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus lent its voice to calling for federal action.

In the meantime, Russell said, the family has no choice but to wait for something to happen with federal prosecutors.

“It’s a very difficult and challenging period for them,” he said. “At the end of the day, all they want is to see justice done. That’s all they want.”

Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan

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