Seven weeks ago, Darrin Manning, a 16-year-old honor student, was minding his own business. On a record cold day in Philadelphia, he was wearing a hoodie and scarf on his way to play in his charter school’s basketball game. That was enough for Officer Thomas Purcell to make it his business to stop him. In Purcell’s worldview, a young black man is “acting suspiciously” when he bundles up against the cold.
Following the illegal stop, frisk and arrest, a white female police officer patted down Darrin. During the course of her illegal pat down, she grabbed Darrin’s testicles. Twice. Less than 24 hours later, he underwent emergency surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His operating physician wrote:
He [Darrin] was involved with an encounter with the police department during which his scrotum was grabbed and he reported acute onset of left testicular pain.
Those are some of the facts highlighted at today’s press conference. In attendance were Darrin’s lawyer, Lewis Small; his mother, Ikea Coney; Veronica Joyner, founder and chief administrative officer of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia; and Paula Peebles, chair of the Pennsylvania State Chapter of the National Action Network.
In calling on District Attorney Seth Williams to drop the charges, Attorney Small said:
What happened to Darrin is a case of stop-and-frisk run amok.
The fact that Darrin did not have a weapon and in fact is not a criminal seem to have no relevance to the police. Darrin was stopped for no reason. He was arrested for no reason. He was subjected to a brutal attack for no reason. The charges made against Darrin are not supported and should be dropped.
Darrin Manning has suffered enough. It’s time for the District Attorney to withdraw the charges in this case. It’s time to end this injustice.
Darrin and his mother have suffered enough. The trumped-up charges won’t shield the Philadelphia Police Department from being held accountable for engaging in a pattern or practice of stops and frisks undertaken without reasonable suspicion.
On Jan. 7, 2014, Darrin Manning, a 16-year-old honor student at Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School, was on his way with his teammates to play a basketball game. He never made it. Shortly after exiting the subway, he was stopped by a Philadelphia police officer.
Darrin reportedly “caught his attention” because he was wearing a ski mask and running. Fact is, he was wearing a scarf given to him by the founder and chief administrative officer of his charter school, Veronica Joyner, who was concerned about her students’ well-being on a record cold day.
Following the illegal stop, he was frisked and arrested. A white female officer then performed an illegal pat down. Darrin told Philadelphia Daily News columnist Helen Ubinas:
She patted me down and then she touched my butt and then my private parts. And then she grabbed and squeezed and pulled my private parts and I felt something pop.
The following day, Jan. 8, Darrin underwent emergency surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Sperm tests will be taken in 90 days to determine whether the injuries inflicted on young Darrin will prevent him from fathering children.
Now get this: Instead of prosecuting the female police officer for police brutality, Darrin is facing charges. He is charged with four misdemeanors, including aggravated assault and resisting arrest. At his Juvenile Court status hearing, a March 7 trial date was set.
The illegal stop-and-frisk has sparked outrage across the country. The rupturing of Darrin’s testicle was a brutal sexual assault and an affront to human decency. The Pennsylvania State Chapter National Action Network called on District Attorney Seth Williams to drop all charges. (Disclosure: I’m PA NAN’s media liaison.)
Yesterday, PA NAN Chair Paula Peebles, President Matthew Smith, Sr. and I went to the Saturday Action Rally at the House of Justice in Harlem.
Peebles shared Darrin’s story with National Action Network members and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Sharpton said “nothing has alarmed me more than this case in Philly”:
We must do whatever we can to help the Philly chapter. There must be justice. … There must be a force that can immediately call for justice.
With few exceptions, so-called leaders in the City of Brotherly Love have said nothing. So later this month, Sharpton is coming to Philly to show Darrin some love and call out elected officials and “punks with handkerchiefs” whose silence is deafening.