The killing of 16-year-old Kimani “Kiki” Gray is a terrible tragedy on a long list of injustices perpetrated by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The Justice Committee sends love, strength and solidarity to his family, friends and community. We echo Kimani’s community’s calls for an independent investigation into his death and the indictment of the officers who killed him.
We are deeply troubled by the fact that eyewitness accounts tell an entirely different story than the one put out by the NYPD. Sadly, we are not surprised. In so many other cases the same has happened. The NYPD puts out their side of the story, painting themselves as heroes and criminalizing our loved ones and later on witnesses, discovery and/or civil suit testimonies prove otherwise. The cases of Malcolm Ferguson and Ramarley Graham are just two examples. Too often media outlets and Commissioner Ray Kelly imply that those killed by his officers were criminals; they had records, were suspected of being involved in a street organization, or were in possession of weapons or contraband. Even if these accusations were to be true, they do not warrant the death penalty. In spite of what their actions would suggest, the police are supposed to uphold the law. They are not supposed to act as our loved ones’ judge, jury and executioner.