Darrin Manning told The Philadelphia Inquirer he got off the subway Jan. 7 on his way to play in a high school basketball game with a dozen teammates wearing their team uniforms and hats, gloves and scarves given to them by a teacher.
Police claim the boys were wearing ski masks, but the teens said they had covered their faces with scarves because it was cold outside.
The 16-year-old student at Mathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School said one of his teammates may have smarted off to an officer staring them down, and he said the boys ran when the police officer approached them.
Manning admits that he ran at first out of fear, but then he stopped.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
Police records show that Manning, who is black, fought with Officer Thomas Purcell, who is white, after he stopped running, striking the officer three times and ripping off his police radio.
Manning said he was roughed up, struck with handcuffs and then placed in those handcuffs, and the teen said a female officer pulled his genitals so hard during a patdown that one of his testicles ruptured.
“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,” Manning said.
Police said the teen didn’t complain of any pain while in custody, and authorities charged him with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.
He underwent emergency surgery the following day, and his mother told The Philadelphia Inquirer that doctors told her he may never be able to father children.
Manning used a wheelchair at school a few days after the incident.
His mother, Ikea Coney, said witnesses backed her son’s account of what happened during the arrest, and one of those witnesses told the newspaper that she thought the police actions appeared to be excessive.
“I blame myself,” Coney said. “I taught my son to respect cops, not to fear them. Maybe if he was afraid, he would have run like the other boys and he would have been OK.”
“We want to know what happened,” Ramsey said. “This is a young man with no history in terms of negative contact with the law. My understanding is he is a good student. I don’t know what took place, and I’m not in a position to say at this point in time because I don’t have all the facts.”
A lawyer for the family told KYW-TV that the family would speak to police only after the misdemeanor charges are dropped.
Police video shows only portions of the incident because the camera had been set to pan back and forth, but the station reported that it appeared to show a routine patdown and struggle between the boy and two officers.
The female officer is shown holding back passersby.
One of Manning’s basketball coaches when to the police station after the incident to check on the boy, and he asked police whether they would have acted the same way if the group of boys had been white.
“They didn’t answer,” said the coach, Dan Jackson.
Manning has never had a disciplinary issue at school, Jackson said, but Officer Purcell, an 11-year veteran, has had two citizen complaints filed against him for false arrest in 2008 and 2009. The officer was cleared in both cases.
A police spokesman said an internal affairs investigation had been opened into the case, and the officers would be disciplined if wrongdoing is found.
The school’s founder, who had given the scarves and other items to the boys, said the incident goes against her efforts to teach students that police officers are not their enemy.
“There is clearly some damage that needs to be repaired,” said Veronica Joyner. “But there are good and bad in every area, in every race. The police department is no exception.”
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