The recent killing of an unarmed 18-year-old Bronx resident, Ramarely Graham, has reverberated throughout New York City and beyond in a way few alleged incidents of police misconduct and abuse have in the past. The streets of New York City have seen more than their fair share of violence at the hands of those sworn to “serve and protect” us at tax payers’ expense. The list of deaths involving questionable policing practices in New York City is long and the pattern of deadly force against unarmed African American and Hispanic young men has established a troublesome trend with the resultant sanctions, routine departmental reviews, and punishment, if any, usually amounting to no more than a ‘slap on the wrist’.
In February 1999, an unarmed 23-year-old West African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, was slain in his Bronx doorway in a fusillade of 41 bullets; Sean Bell, a 23-three-year-old Queens man was shot down on the eve of his wedding in a deadly barrage of 50 shots fired by five New York City police officers. On December 22,1994, Anthony Baez, age 29, was killed with the use of deadly force after being accosted by police officers at the scene of a game of tag football in his Bronx neighborhood. And the list goes on.
Reports of similar incidents of alleged police interventions using deadly force against unarmed Black and Hispanic males around the nation have mounted over the years, clearly establishing a disturbing pattern of questionable police procedures and raising issues of intractable racial profiling and bias in law enforcement policies that need urgent judicial reform and scrutiny by all local, state, and federal jurisdictions responsible for such judicial and administrative oversight.
All right-minded citizens should be deeply concerned when law enforcement officials can unlawfully enter someone’s home forcibly without a search warrant, with a lethal outcome, leaving the lawful, unarmed resident of that home dead and inhabitants traumatized. If these incidents can happen in New York City with impunity, then surely they can occur any where in the United States.
Already a coalition of prominent ministers, civic leaders, and concerned citizens in the New York City area are organizing with plans to bring the larger issue of our municipalities and nation’s broken criminal justice system to the forefront in this year’s election cycle. NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE! (D-Day Media (c) 2/19/12