NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The police officer who used deadly force against an unarmed 18-year-old suspect in the Bronx on Thursday has been placed on restricted duty, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday.
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At a briefing, Kelly said the sergeant who supervised the officer has also been placed on restricted duty. The two officers had to turn in their guns and badges and will sit behind a desk for 30 days, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
The shooting happened around 3 p.m. Thursday in the bathroom of the apartment house where 18-year-old Ramarley Graham lived with his mother and grandmother. On Friday, a small platoon of crime scene detectives got a search warrant for that house.
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Police said narcotics officers spotted Graham on the street adjusting his waistband and thought he had a gun. When the officers approached, authorities said Graham took off running toward his home.
“The observation team reported, uh, over the tactical radio, they observed the butt of a gun in the waistband of Ramarley Graham,” Kelly said.
A cop followed him inside, where Graham was shot in the chest by the officer in a bathroom, according to police. Originally, police had said there was a struggle between the officer and the suspect, but Kelly said Friday that investigators now believe there was no struggle between the two before the shooting.
Paulette Minzi, the owner of the house, was taking a shower a floor above the shooting.
“The towel fell off me. I was naked, down here. And … put the gun in my face, like this, and start: (shouting) ‘Who live here? Who live here? Who are you? Live here? Who are you here?’ And I say, ‘I’m the landlord! I’m the landlord!'” Minzi told CBS 2’s Guzman.
“And they run upstairs and then a lot of cops start to come,” Minzi added. “And that’s when they shot the boy.”
Graham was taken to Montefiore Medical Center where he later died.
No gun was recovered, but police said marijuana was found inside the home.
On his weekly radio show on WOR Radio on Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he doesn’t know why the cop shot Graham, but said the investigation is still ongoing.
“Typically in a situation like this, right away the police are taking off duty or off line duty and during an investigation, no matter what the facts the are, just to protect everybody,” he said. “And if they’ve done nothing wrong, they’ll be back on duty.”
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Police said they now think Graham ran because he was carrying marijuana and said they think he was trying to flush it down the toilet when cops found him the bathroom of his apartment.
“For them to chase him, to say they see him with a gun, they assume,” said Graham’s brother, Delmore Scott. “Imagine, that means everybody now is a target. Everybody is going to be a target now.”
The suspect’s mother, Constance Malcolm, said that Graham’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother were inside the house at the time of the shooting.
“In the bathroom they shot him. My 6-year-old son was there and saw everything,” Malcolm said. “I’m going to get justice.”
Authorities said Graham had at least two prior arrests for marijuana and burglary. Officials have not released the name of the officer involved as the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Unit investigates.
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