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One Year After Police Shot Bronx Teen, Mourners Rally Against Alleged NYPD Bias

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Friends and family gathered Saturday for a rally and vigil for a Bronx teen killed by police one year ago.

A candlelight vigil was held in Wakefield before family and friends marched to the 47th Precinct to honor the memory of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.

Chants of "no justice, no peace" and "I am Ramarley" were heard during the march.

The vigil and march were led by Graham's parents and his 6-year-old brother, who was home at the time of the shooting.

"We come to that time, around the time that he was murdered, my heart is beating fast because I was not here that day," said Constance Malcolm, Graham's mother. "I'm wondering, if I was here that day, what could I do, what could I have done differently to stop it."

The family said they were there to not only get justice for Ramarley, but to highlight what they say is a bias by some police officers against young male minorities, a bias that leads to their death.

"Justice for Ramarley is justice for all kids, the many that have passed before him and, sad to say, the ones that will follow him," said Franclot Graham, Ramarley's father.

Video surveillance captured the last moments of Ramarley Graham's life. Police are seen following him into his house. Officers believed that Graham had just taken part in a drug deal and thought he had a gun in his waistband.

Officer Richard Haste shot and killed Graham in Graham's bathroom with a single bullet.

Haste said Graham did not show his hands in response to a command.

The officer said he believed his life was in danger.

Investigators later found that Graham was not armed, and no weapons were recovered.

"As usual, they say, 'I thought he had a gun.' This is the excuse they always use and it needs to stop," Malcolm said.

Graham's parents said though a year may have passed, the pain is just as strong.

"At his funeral, I stood by his casket, and I watched people over and over [say], 'Oh my god, he is so handsome,'" said Franclot Graham. "It's just sad to see that he won't be able to go on."

Graham's family attorney, Royce Russell, said he wants to know why early reports indicated there was a chase and a struggle, facts that were later contradicted by the surveillance video.

"Although the commissioner has apologized in reference to the death of Ramarley Graham, he never apologized as to why misinformation was given to the media, why he doesn't discipline his staff his police officers that are out here and intentionally give misinformation," Russell said.

Four months after the incident, Haste was charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty.

Haste is free on bond and awaiting trial. His next court date is March 26.

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