A fourteen year-old teenage boy who was the victims of violent actions by Tullytown police begins his long road to find justice.
As the elevator door opens to the 7th floor of a Center City Philadelphia office building, a short and fairly thin teenage boy nervously exits with his face covered by the hood of his blue sweatshirt, doing his best to avoid the mob of reporters who were waiting anxiously to get a shot of his bruised and battered face.
Shielded by Racial Unity USA Founder Asa Khalif – with his mother, Marissa Sargent, and activist Edward Lloyd, walking just footsteps in front of him – Joey Williams, 14, trembling and whimpering, walked into the office of Fortunato N. Perry Jr., to discuss a civil rights lawsuit against the Tullytown Police Department.
“He’s scared, he’s nervous, he’s a fourteen year-old baby,” his mother said to me in a whisper.
Last Friday, Sargent went to pick up her son—who had been violently arrested for shoplifting at a Wal-Mart in Southeastern, Pennsylvania—from a juvenile facility, after police—for three days—denied her the right to see her child and accompany him during questioning. Once she saw her son disfigured with burns, cuts and scars —courtesy of several tasers to the face—she took a photo with her cell phone and posted it on Facebook along with this message:
“This is my 14 yr old son who was brutally tortured By 2 Tully town officers he was handcuff but they say he resisted arrest that y’all tazzed him in his face …not only that they took him to lower bucks hospital without his mother consent they broke his nose n both eyes were swollen shut these prejudice cops need a rude awakening anyone know anyone that can help my son please help they took him to the police station n told me I could not come up there but as a mother who loves her child I did Go to the station they would not let me n at all they talked to me through the door I didn’t see my son for tree days n the cops says o he’s fine we ordered him pizza really? Anyone who can help me get justice please comment. I’m torn, mad, angry; just can’t deal: #HELP.”
“I don’t know how to feel. I can’t eat, can’t sleep, it’s hard,” reveals Sargent, who was soft-spoken and visibly shaken while speaking to the press this afternoon in the office of her attorney.
Throughout the weekend, the gruesome photo circulated social media, even making headlines at the Global Grind. And with more than 50,000 shares, only a few answered the call to help a mother in distress.
Pledging their support to the family—including announcing plans to march and protest against the Bucks County District Attorney, who disputes the claim that the police acted improperly, and against the Tullytown police department, for leading the hospital to believe the young boy was under the custody of a juvenile detention center when he was being treated—Greg Brinkley, Former National Action Network President (Philadelphia Chapter), along with Khalif and Lloyd – all three men are also visibly involved in the Tomayo McDuffy case—gathered in the lobby of the Graham Building to share their thoughts exclusively with Techbook Online on the now high-profile case.
“The District Attorney from Bucks County said Williams was on probation – he’s never been on probation, he doesn’t have a record,” says Lloyd. “They intentionally lied to the hospital because they wanted to give the perception that they had the authority to bring him in without notifying his parent; they illegally made him sign himself in and out.”
“Enough is enough with these stories of police brutality popping up all over the country, it seems like it’s open season on our African-American children,” exclaims Brinkley, a former correctional officer at Graterford Prison. As an officer, Brinkley, who didn’t carry a gun when patrolling the cell blocks, says as a trained professional, “The officers had multiple options.”
“Even if he was running away, he couldn’t have been running that fast, he was handcuffed. There were a number of police, they could have literally used their car to block him in; this was too much. The universal law enforcement rule say once there’s no resistance, aggression has to stop. Even if he’s fleeing—n this case he was handcuffed—he wasn’t going to go anywhere significant. And I’m not condoning the fact that he shoplifted, but he wasn’t a crazed killer, he was a scared kid that was pressured into shoplifting by an adult, he didn’t deserve to suffer that level of abuse,” Brinkley adds.
“When dealing with our black and brown youth, there’s always a second-class type of respect. There’s always a mob-mentality when approaching them and there are always brutalized by authorities. No compassion is ever shown, and that’s because they don’t see us as human,” states Khalif, who recently called out CNN Anchor Don Lemon for his controversial endorsement of stop and frisk.
Lloyd informs me the next step is to launch a full private investigation into the history of the Tullytown Police Department, and to see exactly what happened to Williams.
“We’re going to get down to the bottom of this! We are going to figure out how a boy running away from the police gets tasered in his face. We are going to make him whole,” states Lloyd.
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Photo: C. Norris – ©2013