Hundreds of people turned out Wednesday to meet with police in the precinct where an officer shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old last week, and many said they’re fed up with what they consider a lack of respect from authorities. NY1’s Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Family members of Ramarley Graham call his death a crime.
“Murdered my cousin Ramarley, coldblooded murderer in his own home,” said Tracey Champion, Ramarley’s cousin.
Hundreds of people came to the monthly precinct community council meeting with police Wednesday, many because of Graham's death.
“It could have been my son,” said one resident.
They say they police don't just discriminate against them but that officers treat them like animals.
“We’re dogs to them, that’s it. And they’re just gonna shoot us down and they're gonna shoot our young puppies afterwards,” said one resident.
“They are supposed to serve and protect us, and they’re the ones that’s killing us,” said Champion.
The Bronx borough commander told the audience it was two black officers who thought they saw Graham dealing drugs with a gun last week before the other officers went after him and entered the home.
Residents say that misses the mark.
“It’s not race. The way I see it, it’s basically the community you’re from. If you live in a poor community, they're not gonna care,” said one resident.
The borough commander also said the officers didn't break in but that the downstairs tenant let them in. That brought shouts accusing police of cover up.
“I felt like he was covering up,” said one resident.
“The door is locked. He kicked the door several times,” said another.
“For him to come fabricate a story like that is ridiculous,” said a third.
An officer shot and killed the unarmed 18-year-old in the bathroom of his home. Police say they think he may have been flushing marijuana down the toilet.
Some say this reminds them of the fatal shooting by officers of an unarmed Amadou Diallo in the Bronx 13 years ago.
"When is it going to stop?" said one resident.
Many said the incident is not getting the attention it deserves.
“Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg should have made it here instead of going to the Giants parade,” said one resident. “This is someone's life.”