Ramarley Graham's Mother Speaks Out: NYPD Cop Who Killed My Son Should Be Charged With Murder
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ROYCE RUSSELL: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: You all—he lives on the second floor.
ROYCE RUSSELL: Correct.
AMY GOODMAN: So he walks up the stairs.
ROYCE RUSSELL: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: And then what happens?
ROYCE RUSSELL: Well, from the video, from which you can see, is that minutes go by. Minutes. And I’m not an expert in police protocol, but we have one here. He’ll tell you what should have been done. I’m going to surmise, during my years of experience of practicing in this area, that when you have minutes go by, you call for emergency service unit, so they can come in backup, right? And they can assess the situation. But they don’t do that. They—the video shows, and everybody has seen, how this police officer is trying to bang down this door, unsuccessfully, banging and banging, kicking, kicking, stomping, trying to get the door open. Finally, they succeed in getting the door open, my understanding, from around the back. They enter that apartment, guns blazing, startling that family, because they didn’t realize—
AMY GOODMAN: You mean guns drawn.
ROYCE RUSSELL: Guns drawn. Didn’t realize that it was a two-story family house, that one family lived downstairs and another family lived upstairs. So, guns out, questioning those people, and then to find out that it was another apartment. Still time to wait, assess: "What are we doing? Maybe we need to have backup." And even if you take their theory that Ramarley had a gun, which we know is not true—there is no gun, there was never no gun, and there will never be a gun—but if you were to take that thinking and just take it a step further, why would you charge up the stairs and try to kick down that door down with somebody who has a gun there?
AMY GOODMAN: So—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And this is, just to be clear, kicking down a door with no indication that there is any crime in progress or anything of that nature. We’re talking basically, without a warrant, just kicking down the door.
ROYCE RUSSELL: It’s a violation, clearly, clearly a violation.
AMY GOODMAN: And then they go upstairs. And what happens?
ROYCE RUSSELL: And they go upstairs, and they kick that door down. And that’s—
AMY GOODMAN: Where the grandma was—
ROYCE RUSSELL: —where—
AMY GOODMAN: —where your six-year-old son was, as well as Ramarley, who’s 18.
ROYCE RUSSELL: Right. And then, to Ramarley’s demise, he’s shot fatally one time in the body.
AMY GOODMAN: In the bathroom.
ROYCE RUSSELL: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: Carlton Berkley, how did you come onto the scene? And then, what did you see?
CARLTON BERKLEY: As I came into the house, I interviewed witnesses myself and ascertained the same thing that Royce was saying. But the first door that—and I believe it was a sergeant—the first door that Ramarley had entered to enter the residence, a sergeant came running and tried to kick that door in. That’s the first door. Officer Haste had went around the back, and he was checking out the back, and for about—minutes went by, about a good six, seven minutes. Now, being an experienced detective, you would know that, right then and there, you’re not going to go inside, because you can’t go inside. There was no hot pursuit. Hot pursuit stops when the doors close. If the door was open, you can pursue. The law says that, and that’s what they taught us in the academy. But they also say, once the door closes, you back up, and now you, you know, ascertain the facts, huddle, if you’re going to get a search warrant or if you’re going to let the situation go away.