Ramarley Graham’s attorney says NYPD used excessive force in Empire State Building shooting

Police block the entrance to the Empire State Building on Friday after the shooting.
Miles Dixon/Metro

The attorney representing Ramarley Graham’s family told Metro Sunday he thinks the NYPD used excessive force in the gunman takedown outside the Empire State Building on Friday.
 
Graham’s case made headlines in New York City when the 18-year-old was shot and killed in February following an attempted drug bust in the Bronx. Police chased Graham into his own home and he was shot and killed in his bathroom; he was unarmed.

The cop who shot the teen is now awaiting trial on manslaughter charges, and the attorney for the dead boy’s family, Royce Russell, said Friday’s shooting was similar to other cases where innocent bystanders have been injured or killed by NYPD bullets.

Nine bystanders were injured by police when they shot 16 rounds at Jeffrey Johnson, 58, the gunman who killed his former boss outside the Empire State Building on Friday.

The victims may be able to seek compensation from the city, Royce said.
 
“At a ratio of 16 to 1, then clearly there is an issue of training here,” Royce said. “Either it’s an issue of abuse of force or an issue of people who aren’t ready to deal with these issues.”

23-year-old Robert Asika is one of those nine people hit by the barrage of police bullets.

Asika was on his way to work when he was shot in the elbow. He told the Guardian, “If you wanna aim at the target, you got to know what you’re doing because it’s the street. I could have been dead right now. I could have been dead.’
 
“These people were victimized twice,” Royce said. “First by the gunman and second by the police.”
 
Witnesses originally reported Johnson shot at police, but according to ballistics reports, he only shot at his intended victim, Steven Ercolino. According to Reuters, the gunman had dropped his keys off with his landlord Friday morning with no intention to return to his home.

Johnson’s gun bought out of state

 
 
New York City has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, but other states’ lenient weapons laws undercut the state’s strict gun control. The Empire State Building shooter bought his gun legally in Florida more than 20 years ago, but didn’t have a city permit.
 
Last month, a report found that only 20 percent of guns seized in New York were purchased in-state. The rest were purchased in states with more lenient laws — including Florida.


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