Thursday, January 16, 2014
Darrin Manning is a 16-year-old high school basketball player, a straight A student, and has a spotless school disciplinary record. But now, thanks to an incident with the Philadelphia Police, the young man may never become a father.
Arrested earlier this month on what looks like trumped up charges, the teenager was allegedly manhandled by police officers and had to have emergency surgery to repair damage to his genitals.
Philadelphia attorney and political/social activist Michael Coard said he was outraged about the incident. "During the 18th and 19th century slavery they beat then castrated men. During the 20th and 21st century police brutally beat then castrate boys," said Coard. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Outraged Philadelphians are holding both a community meeting and a rally, next week, in response to the event.
"What? Is this like the 2014 castration?" said Philadelphia social activist Akanke Washington, who learned of the event from her college student daughter. "I'm already a nervous wreck with a daughter, but the attacks on boys are so different that I think if I had a son I'd have to leave the United States."
On January 7, Manning -- a student at Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School in the Center City section of Philadelphia -- traveled by subway with about a dozen teammates to North Philadelphia to practice at the Berean Institute. Though the school's basketball team is ranked 16th in the nation, it does not have it's on gym and is forced to take a subway and trolley to practice.
As Manning and his teammates walked out of the subway station at the corner of Broad Street and Girard Avenue, they noticed a couple of police officers. Manning later said that one of the teenagers who was with him may have said something to the police, so when the officers approached them, they all ran.
But, Manning, added, he decided to stop since he knew he had done nothing wrong. But that is, when it seems, everything went dreadfully wrong.
According to a police report of the incident, Police Officer Thomas Purcell (who is white) stopped Manning after he spotted him with a group of black males wearing ski masks and running. It's not clear why Purcell felt a need to stop Manning -- or any of the other teens -- as there doesn't seem to be any city, state, or federal law against a group of black males wearing ski masks.
And Manning insists they weren't even wearing ski masks, just scarves given to them by Veronica Joyner, founder of Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School.
Joyner confirmed that she had given all of the high school basketball players scarves just before they departed the school on their way to the Berean Institute. Temperatures in Philadelphia reached a low of 4 degrees that day.
The police report goes on to say that Purcell called for backup after Manning started fighting with the officer.
But Manning says he was surrounded by police, roughed up, and hit with a pair of handcuffs before the cuffs were finally placed on him. It was while he was handcuffed, he said, that a female officer gave him a rough pat down while other officers laughed.
"She patted me down, and she touched my butt and then my private parts," Manning told a Philadelphia Daily News reporter. "And then she grabbed and squeezed and pulled my private parts, and I felt something pop."
According to Fox News, records show that Manning spent the night following his arrest at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he underwent emergency surgery. Police confirm that no officers sustained injuries.
Manning's mother, Ikea Coney, told reporters that doctors told her that her son may have permanent damage that could prevent him from fathering children, adding: "I'm just glad they didn't kill him."
The teenager, who is still in a wheelchair, is facing charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
"This is just totally acceptable," said community activist Maisha Ongoza, director of the Philadelphia chapter of Say Yes to Education, a national non-profit education foundation committed to increasing the high school and college graduation rates of inner-city youth.
"I have grandchildren his age, and I have children in my program his age, and it's sad knowing they can be subjected to this kind of treatment by police," said Ongoza
An emergency town hall meeting is being convened by Techbook Online, on Tues., Jan 21 at 7:30 p.m to address the Manning case. Community activists Gabriel Bryant and Asa Khalif are scheduled to speak at the meeting which is being held at Catalyst for Change Ministries, 3727 Baring Street.
The Pennsylvania chapter of the National Action Network is holding a rally at Broad Street and Girard Avenue on Thurs., Jan 23rd, to demand the arrest of the female officer who "maliciously sexually assaulted" Manning, and a broadened federal investigation into instances of brutality by Philadelphia police. No speakers have yet to be announced for the rally which is scheduled to be held between 4 and 5:30 p.m.