Two years after an unarmed Bronx teenager was shot and killed by police in the bathroom of his home, his family is still fighting for federal authorities to take a closer look at the case. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Ramarley Graham would have celebrated his 21st birthday this past Saturday, but instead, his family was mourning him.
In 2012, when he was 18, Graham was killed by New York City police officer Richard Haste.
Haste followed Graham into his home after he said he thought the teen was carrying a gun on the street. He said he shot Graham because he thought the teen was reaching for that weapon. No gun was ever found.
"It was very hard because, you know, I have three kids, and one is missing, and the one that's missing, that was his birthday, so my day was spent at the cemetery," said Constance Malcolm, Graham's mother. "That's all we know. It was just us, it was just us, and he's not here, and he should have been here."
A Bronx grand jury indicted Haste for manslaughter, but a judge threw out the case, saying prosecutors mistakenly instructed jurors to ignore some testimony. A second jury refused to indict Haste. After that, the Department of Justice said it would review the case.
On Wednesday, demonstrators rallied in front of U.S. District Court, calling for a formal investigation.
"We can't sit around and wait for them to drag their feet," Malcolm said.
Graham's family has not been given a timetable as to when and if any action will be taken by the DOJ, but they said they will continue the fight."
"It's clear the Department of Justice needs to expedite this investigation," said Assemblyman Karim Camara of Brooklyn. "It needs to be exhaustive so that we can find the facts."
They also said that because other young men and women of color are under attack by those meant to protect them, change needs to happen.
"We are all here today urging that we have justice, not only for Ramarley, for making sure that the next brother and sister who's standing on the corner, who are just trying to get to their homes or just trying to exist in their neighborhoods, don't succumb to the violence of the men and women in blue," said City Councilman Andy King of the Bronx.
NY1 reached out to the Department of Justice for comment and was told that the review is ongoing.