The 18th and final vigil for an 18-year-old Wakefield youth fatally shot by a police officer in a disputed incident will be held today outside a Wakefield home that has turned into a virtual shrine.
The family of Ramarley Graham will then march to the nearby 47th Precinct stationhouse for a final rally.
“Each vigil represents every year Graham has been alive,” said Constance Malcolm, Graham’s mother.
Graham was fatally shot by 47th Precinct narcotics officer Richard Haste on February 2 after the cop chased him from the street up to the family’s second floor bathroom where Graham was allegedly trying to flush drugs down the toilet.
The incident began after cops spotted Graham and two others leave a Wakefield bodega.
Police said Haste believed he’d seen the group carrying a gun.
Graham’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother were inside the home when the shooting occurred.
Several weeks later, a Bronx grand jury indicted the officer on manslaughter charges. Haste is due back at the Bronx Criminal Courthouse for a hearing September 13, with dozens of Graham’s supporters expected to rally outside calling for the charge to be upgraded to murder.
“Haste is a deadly machine,” said April Stone, 20, a friend of Graham’s, at the 17th vigil on July 12 outside the Graham home, with candles, large banners and commemorative T-shirts bearing Graham’s face around the home.
Stone alleges Haste and Graham had a previous encounter before the shooting, never rising to the level it did on February 2.
After the vigil outside the Graham home, protestors marched through the streets of Wakefield chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police” and handing out flyers to taxi drivers, neighbors and storeowners, asking them to support Graham.
The shooting has provoked much talk on the debate of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy where many at the vigil in predominantly minority Wakefield see it as racial profiling.
“I want them to get justice,” longtime resident and Graham’s former basketball coach Sean Crawford said of the family.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383