Officers Put on Restricted Duty After Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Bronx Man

Police commissioner says there was no struggle before the shooting, contradicting officers' preliminary account of the incident.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday that a narcotics officer and his sergeant have been stripped of their guns and put on desk duty after the officer fatally shot an unarmed suspect in the Bronx.

The NYPD backed away from its initial account that the officer had struggled with 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. Kelly was asked at a briefing Friday whether investigators now believe a struggle occurred -- he said no.

In their preliminary account of the incident, police had said there was a struggle. The account was changed after investigators interviewed a second officer who was in the apartment and a relative who was just a few feet away, he said.

A grand jury was expected to investigate the incident to determine if the officers should face criminal charges, said Kelly, who also expressed sympathy for the family.

"We're obviously trying to get the facts," Kelly said at a news conference. "A young man's life was taken. ... It's the worst thing that can happen to a parent — to lose a child."

The NYPD did not immediately release the name of the 30-year-old officer or the sergeant, whose conduct was under scrutiny because he was in charge of the officers who responded to the home.

Mayor Bloomberg said all procedures are being followed to find out what happened.

"We obviously have some real concerns," he said.

Police say the officer killed the unarmed Graham, in his home Thursday after a foot pursuit.

It was the third time in a week that an NYPD officer killed a criminal suspect.

Plainclothes officers wearing NYPD raid jackets were there investigating street-corner drug dealing, officials said.

Officers from a street narcotics task force saw a man on the street, and when they approached him, he ran off, police said.

Officers chased the man into a building on East 229th Street, up to the second floor, where at some point in the chase, one officer fired a shot at close range from his 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. The victim was struck in the chest and collapsed inside the bathroom.

He was taken to Montefiore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said two other police officers and family members of the victim, including his mother, were inside the apartment at the time of the shooting.

Marijuana was found inside the home, police said. No weapon was recovered.

Graham's mother cried as she spoke to reporters Thursday night, wondering out loud why her son was shot.

"Everybody's kids get into trouble," said Constance Malcolm. "He smoked a little weed, like young kids does. And that's what he had on him when they were chasing him."

"Nobody deserves to get shot like that, in your own house," she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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