NYPD shoots teenager

The New York Police Department(NYPD) have been accused of using an unjustified amount of force on an unarmed teenager. Ramarley Graham was shot dead by a police officer after trying the dispose of marijuana by flushing it down the toilet.

Police were watching Graham due to his apparent ‘drug activity’ as he left a convenience store a police officer broadcasted on police radio that he saw ‘the butt of a gun’ in his wristband.  He fled with two officers in police cars ordering him to stop before going into his grandmothers house. A large number of police then surrounded his apartment as gun drawn officers kicked down the door.

A police officer then proceeded to the bathroom where Graham was flushing down some marijuana. What transpired next is subject to who you ask whilst the police say they shouted “Gun, Gun, Gun!” before shooting Graham’s grandmother on the other hand said that they didn’t say anything to Graham. The polices story is even harder to believe considering that since the shooting they have changed their story. At first they indicated that there had been a struggle before Graham got shot only later changing their story and saying there wasn’t a struggle.

This story comes days after the NYPD announced that they had made more than 50,000 arrests in relation to marijuana possession in 2011 this despite the fact that 7/8 of an ounce of marijuana is decrimilized, if police find marijuana in your bag or pockets they are supposed to just give you a fine. Campaigners argue that the reason for the high number of arrests is the way the NYPD use stop and frisk laws. In 2011 500,000 people were stopped and frisked 85% of which were Black or Latino.

Campaigners say that the NYPD will trick the people they are stopping and frisking into emptying their pockets and when marijuana is subsequently pulled out they are arrested for marijuana in “public view”. If the police adopt policies like this then it’s no wonder that young people and their communities have a mistrust of them. When young men are being shot for mere possession of a small bag of marijuana then it’s no wonder the communities they are from are up in arms.

Many believe that the police who work in the area should be from the area one local person whose daughter knew Graham said “I want local police in our community who know our children growing up, who don’t feel threatened by then”. It does seem to further the view that communities are trusting the police even less due to how the police are treating people from their communities .

What is even more evident about this case though is the violent nature of the New York Police Department looking at the CCTV images it was obvious that they had the place surrounded. Graham was not going to escape anywhere yet they chose to break down his family houses door without a warrant and then to top it all off they kill a teenager just because he was in possession of cannabis.

Without a warrant without even giving a warning to those inside the police kicked down the door. Surely the fact that the apartment block was surrounded the police could of at least banged on the door first before proceeding to knock down the door.

Tony Newman summed up this case very nicely by saying “No one has ever died from smoking marijuana. But the war on marijuana has taken way too many lives.” Graham’s death is another death in this war on drugs that since its inception has been a failure and more like a war on people.