A case of alleged police brutality has a West Philadelphia community rallying behind a 16-year-old straight-A student and prep basketball player who underwent emergency surgery to repair a ruptured testicle after a police stop on his way to a game.
According to a police report obtained by the Daily News, Officer Thomas Purcell stopped Darrin Manning on Jan. 7 (during the height of the polar vortex) after witnessing the teen and roughly a dozen of his Philadelphia Mathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School teammates wearing ski masks and running down the street.
The police report alleges Manning struck Purcell three times, inflicting no injury but forcing a call for backup. The report also claimed Manning "didn't complain of any pain" while being charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.
That's the police's side of the story, according to the Daily News report. Manning's own account of the afternoon's events paint a disturbing picture that has many in the community outraged, organizing town meetings and rallies in his defense.
Manning told multiple media outlets that his team got off the subway while traveling from their school to the gym at Philadelphia's Berean Institute for their game against Philly's Frankfort High. A member of his group "may have said something smart" to a police officer they perceived to be "staring them down," according to Manning's own account.
When the officer approached, the boys, including Manning, reportedly ran. They were wearing hats, gloves and scarves -- not ski masks -- given to them by Mathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School founder Veronica Joyner to keep warm, Manning said.
But Manning told the Daily News that he stopped running, simply because, "I didn't do anything wrong." The sophomore contends multiple police officers "roughed" him up, struck him with a pair of handcuffs and 'cuffed him as a female cop allegedly squeezed his genitals so hard during a pat-down that one of his testicles ruptured.
"She patted me down again, and then I felt her reach, and she grabbed my butt," Manning told myfoxphilly.com. "And then she grabbed and squeezed again and pulled down. And that's when I heard something pop, like I felt it pop."
An unnamed witness corroborated Manning's account of excessive force to the Daily News.
According to the reports, after spending eight hours in jail, Manning underwent emergency surgery the following day at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and remained in a wheelchair at school a week later. His mother, Ikea Coney, told the Daily News that doctors believe the injury could potentially prevent him from fathering children.
"I'm just grateful that they didn't just kill him," Coney told the local FOX affiliate.
Meanwhile, Manning's family has reportedly hired an attorney in hopes of clearing him of all charges. Community organizations, including the Pennsylvania State Chapter of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, have also come to Manning's defense, reports said.
The police did not comment to local media, citing their investigation into the incident, but confirmed the officers would face disciplinary action depending on the outcome.