Call for de Blasio & NYPD to fulfill commitment to begin trial to fire other officers charged in killing of Graham
Approaching 3 months after Richard Haste resigned, trials for officers have yet to be scheduled despite fact that officers were charged 5 years ago and NYPD claimed trials would begin after Haste’s
New York, NY – The family of Ramarley Graham and their community supporters released NYPD documents withheld by the NYPD under the guise of state law 50-a. The de Blasio administration has used a new interpretation of state law to conceal disciplinary and misconduct information about NYPD officers– an interpretation that differs from and discards those of past administrations of the previous 40 years.
The documents reveal the equal responsibility of Sergeant Scott Morris and Officer John McLoughlin, who were both involved on-the-scene in Ramarley Graham’s killing and were charged by the department years ago. Sergeant Morris was the ranking officer on the scene who allowed the unlawful entry and subsequent killing to occur without intervening. Officer McLoughlin kicked in the door to the family’s apartment, helping to lead the unlawful entry that led to the shooting and killing of Graham. Both broke multiple NYPD protocols that were cited in the NYPD’s recommendation to fire Richard Haste.
“These documents only add to the evidence that both Sergeant Scott Morris and Officer John McLoughlin must be fired for the killing of my son Ramarley. They are a danger to public safety and should not continue to collect paychecks from the NYPD,” said Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham. “NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kevin Richardson told me during Haste’s trial that Sergeant Morris and Officer McLoughlin would face trials after Haste, but it’s now three months since Haste was allowed to resign and their trials haven’t even been scheduled. I’m worried that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD are not taking accountability for killing Ramarley seriously, and that Morris & McLoughlin will get slaps on the wrists instead of being fired, as they deserve. It’s a slap in the face to my family and community and another indication of their lack of commitment to Black lives taken by police in New York City.”
The documents released include the final report/recommendation from the trial of Richard Haste by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials and the final report of the Firearm Discharge Review Board into Haste’s firing of his weapon.
The final report from Haste’s trial can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/HasteReport
The Firearm Discharge Review Board report can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2rSpUHT
The report from the departmental trial makes several criticisms of Sergeant Morris for giving “no direction to the officers.” It criticizes McLoughlin, together with Haste, for entering the building without any “knowledge concerning the layout or information about its other occupants.” The report also makes clear that McLoughlin kicked in the door to the apartment and that both he and Haste entered without direction from their supervisor.
“…McLoughlin then back kicked the door, opening it with a single strike. Both Respondent (Haste) and McLoughlin conceded that they did not ask for, nor did they receive, direction from Sergeant Morris prior to breaching the door.”
The Firearm Discharge Review Board (FDRB) Report indicates that Sergeant Morris “(i) exercised poor tactical judgment; (ii) failed to supervise his subordinates; (iii) violated SNEU procedural and training guidelines” and that Officer McLoughlin “exercised poor tactical judgment.” Officer Richard Haste, who was recommended to be fired by NYPD Deputy Commissioner Maldonado, like McLoughlin was found only to have “exercised poor tactical judgment” in the FDRB report.
“These documents prove that Morris and McLoughlin should be fired for their roles in killing Ramarley Graham,” said Loyda Colon, co-director of the Justice Committee. “The recklessness of both Sgt Morris and Officer McLoughlin as detailed in the documents show that they both violated multiple NYPD protocols, lied on the stand during Haste’s trial, and acted recklesssly – leading to the killing of Ramarley Graham. They should not continue to be NYPD officers or officers anywhere. The fact that their trials still haven’t been scheduled is a direct violation of the promise made to Ramarley Graham's family by the NYPD and de Blasio administration. Given the evidence revealed in these documents, this delay can only be interpreted as complete disrespect of Ramarley Graham's family and an attempt to bury this case instead of holding officers accountable for killing.”
The documents were acquired separately from the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request by the family, Communities United for Police Reform and the Justice Committee, which the NYPD continues to fight, though the FDRB Report was part of that request. The group has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for its failure to comply with state law by withholding information in response to the FOIL request.
The release of the two reports comes as delays of the beginning of trials for Sergeant Morris and Officer McLoughlin continue, failing to fulfill the commitment made to Graham’s family that the trials would begin after Haste’s ended. It appears to indicate an effort by the NYPD to avoid a public trial that would highlight police misconduct by the officers, something the department attempted in advance of Haste’s trial. It was recently confirmed by New York Magazine that even as the mayor was making public statements about holding Richard Haste accountable, the NYPD was seeking to cut a deal to avoid a public trial to hold him accountable.
“This moment in time, with knowing all for which we have learned in regards to the truth as to Ramarley's death, the Mayor and the NYPD have an opportunity to restore trust in the people they serve by terminating Morris and McLoughlin,” said Royce Russell, an attorney for Graham’s family. “This is the moment to re-establish the old standards of accountability.”
Unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother by NYPD Officer Richard Haste over five years ago. Haste and several other NYPD officers busted into the family's Bronx home without a warrant, killed Ramarley, and engaged in misconduct and abuses of his family and other civilians. Yet after more than five years, the more than a dozen officers responsible for killing Ramarley, abusing his family and related misconduct have not been identified or held accountable by the de Blasio administration’s NYPD. While Haste was allowed to resign from the NYPD almost two months ago, Sergeant Morris and Officer McLoughlin have yet to have trial dates scheduled by the NYPD. The de Blasio administration has refused to identify and hold accountable the multiple other officers involved in misconduct related to Graham’s killing. Officers were involved in abusing Graham’s grandmother who witnessed the killing, undermining an investigation by removing his body 15 minutes after killing him, releasing false information about the incident, unlawfully releasing improper information about Graham to the public, and engaging in other misconduct.