While two-thirds of liberal New York City takes to the streets to celebrate its team’s prowess in playing with balls, the residents of the White Plains Road area of the Bronx will be burying 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, shot to death in his bathroom for the crime of running away from the cops. [Photo: CBS2]
Graham apparently was suspected of selling pot and told to stop by narcotics officers. He didn’t, and now he’s dead. We’ll hear a lot of hair-splitting from police officials and their ‘investigation’ into yet another episode of instant justice. But for anyone who’s had dealings with them—which is virtually any young male of black or Hispanic descent—the incident is laughably everyday. They stop you, they insult you, they frisk you, if they feel like it, they smack you around. Do not resist, or else.
They don’t usually pull out a gun and kill you, but there’s always that threat. And that’s the real meaning of the death of a teenager for a bag of weed—the underlying social message, delivered by the cops but sent from much further up. You kids are expendable. We can kill you and get away with it. Obey us.
At the Graham household where I visited last night to leave a donation for the funeral, signs on the fence alluded to the NYPD as a modern KKK. The Klan in its heyday didn’t have to lynch black males every weekend to make its point—once in a while was enough.
If Latin American-style fascism ever really does come to the United States complete with secret police impunity, these black and Hispanic kids will be the first to say, What else is new? Their lives are dominated by encounters with the men in blue already. They never know if today’s the day they’ll rub a big Irishman with a badge the wrong way and end up catching a slug or with a bag of cocaine planted in their backpacks. (NYPD narc cops are being ‘investigated’ for the practice currently, which surprises only naive liberals in Starbucks.)
At the corner of White Plains Road and the Grahams’ modest bungalow on East 229th Street, a dozen cops gathered around patrol cars and watched the scene where several hundred residents had gathered in support of the bereaved family. No doubt if I’d dared to ask them, they would have talked about ‘keeping order’ or protecting the local precinct.
A pity there’s no Occupy camp left—would the remnants of that movement, no stranger to police tactics in defense of the mighty—have thought to link arms with the Grahams and their neighbors?