Families of those killed by police to speak at ‘Occupy City Hall’

traffic safety
Protesters outside of City Hall on June 25, 2020. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, will be one of many calling on the city to shrink the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion outside City Hall at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Graham was just 18 years old when NYPD officer Richard Haste followed him from a bodega to his grandmother’s home and shot him after first breaking past the apartment’s locked front door and chasing Graham down his own hallway.  

Others who have lost have family members to police violence will join Malcolm at the occupation at City Hall, which started Monday night, to denounce Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive budget proposal which still allots $6 million for the NYPD’s budget. In early June, de Blasio pledged to cut NYPD funding and divert it to youth and social services after 10 days of protests in the city sparked by the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.

De Blasio has yet to specifically state a dollar amount that he would support cutting from the police department’s budget which is due next Tuesday, June 30. Protesters occupying the sidewalk and green spaces between Centre and Chambers Streets plan to rally, chant, and spend the night next to City Hall until $1 billion is slashed until the budget passes.

Since Monday, demands have changed from calling on the City Council and mayor to slash $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget to now investing those funds to be invested in education, housing, health, mental health care along with youth and elder services. 

Artists like Boomba Yo, The Peace Poets, Spiritchild, and Soulstress will perform at the occupation and organizations like Make the Road, Brooklyn Movement Center, the Justice Committee, Fierce, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice will also speak out for budget cuts. 

Chinnor Campbell, Ramarley Graham’s young brother; Hawa Bah, mother Mohamed Bah, killed by officers in 2012; Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray who was killed by officers in 2013, and Sammy Feliz, the brother of Allan Feliz who was killed by an officer during a traffic stop in the Bronx last year, will also speak.