The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been in the spotlight for police brutality incidents throughout the last year primarily because of unlawful restraints and uses of force against peaceful members of the Occupy Movement. Less well known, however, are the high levels of race-related brutality incidents occurring in New York City this year alone. Two in January 2012 stand out among many other reports of unlawful searches and apparently unprovoked beatings against young black men throughout the city by the NYPD. The first occurred on January 26, 2012, when a black man named Jateik Reed, age 19, and two of his friends were standing on a New York sidewalk when, according to police, he threw baggies of both weed and crack in an attempt to hide them. At least four officers swarmed Reed, beating him with batons and taking him to the ground. Four or five officers continued to beat Reed senseless, even kicking him, though Reed offered no resistance. One eyewitness recorded the attack on camera.
Only one week later, NYPD officers shot and killed Ramarley Graham, age 18, in his home as his grandmother and six-year old brother stood by. According to the police report, Graham was fleeing after being noticed with marijuana. He allegedly entered his apartment in order to escape. A surveillance camera shows him entering, but his behavior does not suggest that police were chasing him. According to witnesses, the police entered the apartment without identifying themselves as police officers, saw Graham in the bathroom and fatally shot him without hesitation. Officers apparently pointed their weapons at Graham’s grandmother, who witnessed the killing. She was thrown to the ground, arrested, and detained for seven hours, during which time NYPD denied her access to her heart medication.
As these two catastrophic incidents suggest, racially motivated brutality by the NYPD appears rampant, and efforts should be made to stop it.
Title: Is NYPD Running Wild? Patterns of Brutality Raise Questions About Mayor’s Control of Police
Author: Kristen Gwynne
Date of Publication: February 15, 2012
Student Researcher: Austin Cahill, Santa Rosa Junior College
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, Santa Rosa Junior College