Darrin Manning, the Philadelphia teen who alleges that a female police officer injured his testicle during a stop-and-frisk, will be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident. Manning’s attorney, Lewis Small, tells Colorlines that until criminal charges are dropped, the family will not cooperate with Philadelphia police’s internal investigation of the sexual assault allegation. He is also calling for a federal investigation.
The early January arrest, some of which has been captured by street cameras, is raising fresh questions about the federally-mandated reform of Philadelphia’s stop-and-frisk practices. Since 2011, the police department has been under a consent decree, part of a settlement agreement arising from a 2010 class action lawsuit. It accused Philadelphia police of targeting black and Latino men for unconstitutional stops and searches. The results of reform so far: "We don’t think the city has improved its stop-and-frisk practices…" senior attorney Mary Catherine Roper of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, this January, told Philly Mag.
Philadelphia police say they stopped Manning for reasonable suspicion but Small, the Manning family’s attorney, maintains there was no reason to initiate a stop, much less, a frisk.
"The best they have is that some of the boys ran on a very cold day," Small says. "There were no calls of vandalism or robberies in the neighborhood. It was just a visual observance of a group of young black men."
Small also says there is no other way Manning’s testicle could have been injured that day. On the night following his arrest and eight-hour detention, Manning received emergency surgery at Children’s Hospital. His mother, Ikea Coney says doctors told her that the injury could potentially leave her son infertile.
The arresting officer, Thomas Purcell, according to Philadelphia Daily News, has had two citizen complaints filed against him, one in 2008 and the other in 2009. He was cleared in both cases. The identity of the female police officer Manning accuses of pulling his testicle during the frisk is unclear.
Police commissioner Charles Ramsey today told CBS Philly that he welcomes a federal investigation.
"I’m happy," Small says, in reply. "I think he’s doing the appropriate thing. I don’t believe the police officers who were there would lie to the feds. To Internal Affairs–yes. But not the feds."
A juvenile judge yesterday set Manning’s trial date for March 7. He faces charges of reckless endangerment of another person, simple assault and resisting arrest.