Unarmed Teen Murdered by Police In His Home


An investigation has been launched into the death of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18 year old who died at the hands of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit.  When asked about the circumstances of his death, New York City Police Commissioner Kelly admitted,  ”At this juncture we see an unarmed person being shot.”

Officers from the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit reported the teen was observed leaving a bodega in the Bronx where it was suspected that drugs were being sold. He was followed to a home where he entered and locked the door behind him.  In a clear video, officers can be seen kicking in the door (breaking and entering) without a warrant.

Graham was shot in the bathroom of this home in the presence  of his grandmother and younger brother.  Police thought they saw a gun and fired on the teen.  Later that day, Graham died at Montefiore Hospital. A gun was not found on the premises.

The Police Misconduct News Feed for the period 2/4/12 to 2/5/12  reported this video contradicts the police report that the teen had argued with them and then run away. On the contrary, the video shows the teen walked calmly to his house and that the police  thereafter burst into the family home after repeatedly kicking the door. Damages to the door were also documented.

The Police Misconduct News Feed also reported the teen’s grandmother was taken against her will to the Police Precinct and held for 7 hours against her will.  Her mistreatment is a separate possible lawsuit.

There is a long and fractious history, particularly in the black community, in response to a perceived propensity for cops to shoot unarmed black men.  In the most recent history in the New York city area is the case of Sean Bell.  23-year-old Bell was shot in a hail of 50 bullets after leaving his bachelor party in November 2006. This became known as the ‘the fifty shot case.” Unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot  by police in 1999 to widespread disbelief regarding the circumstances. No one can forget the international case of  Rodney King who was beaten on video by Los Angeles police in 1991 and became the poster child of police brutality.

These cases and tales from victims who have lived to tell their stories document such treatment by police that puts lives at risk at the hands of people whose duty is the people’s security.  The nightmare of every mother of a black son is that they will be stopped by careless, unscrupulous or just plain nervous policemen unable to make a crucial judgment call that could result in the loss of innocent life.  I know this feeling firsthand.  And it has nothing to do with criminal activity, but rather a perception of guilt and distrust on the part of policemen.

Community activists have asked why two trained officers were unable to discern whether the teen was armed. Why aren’t officers trained to shoot suspects in their legs, arms, or shoulders rather than in their chest?  ”This young teenager,” according to The Root, “made choices that should have landed him in a jail — not a box.”  The scales of justice weigh heavily against longevity for young black males.


Related Stories:

Did Texas Middle Schooler Jaime Gonzalez Have to Die?

Florida Man Tortured and Pepper-Sprayed by Police

Illinois Police Shoot Teen with Asperger’s in His Home


Photo courtesy of  nrdsquash


Imani Dial
Imani Dial5 years ago

@Allie Y. I don't think that most people here, or even the author of this article are anti-police. Indeed, the author sided with other community activists by asking "Why aren’t officers trained to shoot suspects in their legs, arms, or shoulders rather than in their chest?" I don't think that most people who are angry about this are advocating for police inaction. Instead, they (or at least I am) are advocating for police to disarm suspects or shoot in non-fatal areas.
Also, my own anger at this news: I seems indeed that the young boy was pursued and shot for no reason. However, he also may have been a true criminal. Unfortunately, sometimes people (including teenagers) do bad things. Maybe even the police report was correct in that he did argue with them, but it does not seem that they had reason to shoot the poor boy. Here is my case:
1) They were stalking the boy. Maybe not stalking in the way that a creepy person stands outside your window and follows you to work everyday, but stalking in the way a lion stalks a gazelle. We've all seen those nature videos right? The lion, beautiful and concentrating, lies low in the grass until the perfect moment to strike. It seems very obvious that that's what they had been doing. If they had been chasing the boy as they had said, he would have ran to the door, not walked calmly to it. Maybe right now you're saying, "Maybe he ran and thought he had lost them. In that case he would have walked the last few steps to the door inste

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

so very sad. no punishment can bring that life back. still, they should face severe consequences

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S5 years ago

This is scary and horrible. Clearly, the punishments for police brutality and corruption are too lax, as these sort of things have been going on way too long.

Nancy L.
Nancy L5 years ago

That's too bad.

Allie Y.
Allison Y5 years ago

Ok people, let's relax and think about this article for a moment. The writer is obviously not an expert on this case, nor was she there. How many facts are missing here? Nobody but those involved know- including me, which means I will not pass judgement. Making assumptions about someone based purely on race is just as bad as making assumptions about someone based purely on their line of work. Random hostility toward police, just because they are police is a major part of the issue in a lot of these cases, and I tire of reading about these "evil" people in uniform, and the poor, "innocent" folks they hurt for "no reason". I have been helped by police officers numerous times in my life, and may not be here today if it weren't for one in particular. I have also known several officers who were killed because they didn't react when they could have. They are people too, with friends, families, children. Guess we never hear about any of this. I have great respect for so many members of Care2 because of your open-mindedness and empathy. Please continue to exercise it.

Stephen Greg
Jason T5 years ago

The pigs will probably get a slap on the snout and no donuts for a month.

John Doe
james rico5 years ago

this is happening all too often in many states it happened in garfield nj in 12/ 10 11 the police must be better trained and held accountable for this they have these rapid fire guns and they are trigger happy especealy with minorty men in garfield two cops opened up fire on a an armed 19yr old teen he had no weapon if they have to shoot aim for a leg only one shot both cops hit him one a city cop the other a county cop

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 5 years ago

Should police be charged in this case? For sure!
Holding a badge that identifies you as a police officer makes you obligated to 'serve and protect.' It most certainly does not put you above the law! They will be charged.

Susanne Petry
Susanne P5 years ago

I hope they don't get away with just a "slap on the hand"