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.)
In response to Darrin’s lawyer’s and PA NAN’s call for a federal investigation, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said “be my guest.”
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.