Phila. Police Commissioner Says January 7th Street Incident Remains Unclear
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By Mike Dougherty and Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey did his best today to address an incident in which there are more questions than answers.
According to a published report, a 16-year-old boy who is a straight-A student at Mathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School suffered a ruptured testicle during a patdown by police at 15th and Girard on January 7th.
The boy, Darrin Manning, underwent emergency surgery the next day at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
However, police commissioner Charles Ramsey says the boy and his family have yet to file a formal complaint and have yet to speak with the police department’s Internal Affairs division about the incident.
“We want to know what happened,” Ramsey said today. “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.”
Ramsey showed reporters video of the incident from a police camera. But the coverage is intermittent because the camera had been set to automatically pan back and forth across the intersection every ten seconds.
From what was shown, it looked like a routine patdown and struggle between a pair of officers and a young man.
Ramsey says the abuse accusations are in media reports.
[Jan. 23rd UPDATE: Philadelphia Police post the surveillance video on Youtube. WATCH]
“An allegation as I read it in the paper, the boy hasn’t said anything to us officially. So I’m only going… this is third party. So take it for what it’s worth. I don’t know. This is coming through someone else who apparently spoke to him and then wrote about it. Okay?” Ramsey said.
“Is that during the course of a search, he was grabbed by the genitals and there was a yanking that took place. And according to what I’m also hearing from a medical report is that a testicle was ruptured. Now how that took place, when it took place, who may have been involved… and I don’t know the answer to any of that. And again, this is through other sources. This is not the result of a statement. We need a statement. We need to know what happened. And the person best suited to tell us that is the person who was injured,” Ramsey said.
In that report, the teen says a female officer is the one who searched the boy. Ramsey has pulled one female officer from the street until Internal Affairs completes its investigation. In the video, it appears she wasn’t even involved in the struggle with the boy. She is seen keeping passersby from getting too close to the tussle.
The teen is now facing three misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest. Police say they’ve tried to speak to the victim’s family, but they refuse to comment as advised by their lawyer.
Eyewitness News spoke to the teen’s lawyer, who says the family will speak only if the charges are dropped.
Meanwhile, Ramsey says anybody who witnessed the incident is asked to call police to help them piece together the facts. But most of all, he just wants the boy to speak with police and tell them his side of the story.