SUPPORTERS surrounded 16-year-old Darrin Manning when he reported to Family Court yesterday.
Manning, a straight-A student who alleges he had to undergo emergency surgery for a ruptured testicle after a pat-down by a female officer while he was in handcuffs, is facing misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and assaulting an officer.
A judge set a March 7 trial date to give prosecutors time to gather evidence in a case that has garnered national attention.
On Jan. 7, a record cold day, Manning said he and his teammates, all of whom are black, were on their way to a basketball game when white police officers near Girard and Broad stopped them.
Police say the young men were wearing ski masks and ran off. Manning briefly ran, but then stopped. The teammates, from the Mathematics, Civics & Sciences Charter School say there were no ski masks, just hats, gloves and scarves given to them by school chief administrative officer Veronica Joyner.
"All police had to do was ask Darrin Manning where he was going and he could have answered and been on his way," his lawyer, Lewis Small, said after the brief proceedings. "This was a pure racial attack."
Manning's mother says doctors have told her that her son's injuries could leave him sterile.
"All we want is justice for Darrin," his mother Ikea Coney cried.
Last week, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey held a news conference showing video that captured some of the incident, which is now under investigation by police Internal Affairs. Ramsey said police need to speak to Manning to understand what happened. He would not release the name of the female officer.
Manning's lawyer said he would only allow Manning to give a statement to federal authorities. He said Philadelphia police violated Manning's civil rights and a 2011 settlement agreement between the city and plaintiffs who claimed the police department's stop-and-frisk practices violate the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions.
"The charges should be dropped and the officers should be appropriately punished," Lewis said. "What message does it send to African-American youth that if you stay and talk to cops, you're assaulted?"
A town-hall meeting will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at Catalyst for Change Ministries at 3727 Baring St. to discuss the case.
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