It’s taken me a couple days to write about Darrin Manning—not because I didn’t know the particulars of what happened to him or had more pressing concerns. It’s just that even writing down the words, much less pondering the physical, psychological and mental trauma he is going through after having his testicle crushed during a vicious stop-and-frisk police pat-down makes me cry. That ugly, snotty, hot-headed cry.
How else to react to something so vile, so cruel, so inhumane?
The particulars: Darrin, a 16-year-old A-student at a Philadelphia charter school was walking with his friends into a school gym to play rivals in a high school basketball game when, he says, one of his friends said something slick to Officer Thomas Purcell, who was patrolling the area. When Purcell started walking toward the group, the kids took off running; Darrin said he started running, too, but then stopped because, he said, he didn’t do anything wrong.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
According to a police report, Darrin, who has no history of discipline problems, fought with the officer, hitting him three times and ripping off his radio. Though the report says neither Purcell nor any other responding officers sustained injuries, Darrin was arrested for aggravated assault, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment. In that report, Purcell claims he stopped Darrin after spotting several males with ski masks running.
Darrin paints a wholly different scenario: he says he and his friends weren’t wearing ski masks, but did have their heads wrapped in scarves their school principal gave them to guard against the chill on one of the coldest days of the year. And then, the unthinkable: the cop grabbed him, roughed him up and hit him with handcuffs, and then a female officer, while patting him down, pulled on his genitals so hard one of his testicles ruptured.
“She patted me down and then she touched my butt and then my private parts,” he told Raw Story. “And then she grabbed and squeezed and pulled my private parts and I felt something pop.”
Darrin underwent emergency surgery the next day, where doctors told his mother, Ikea Coney, that her son’s injury may have sterilized him.
Piling onto the fact that her child had his testicle damn near ripped from his body and may never be able to become a father, yesterday, a judge refused to drop the charges filed against Darrin, and set a March 7 trial date for the teen.
Darrin’s lawyer refuses to let the teen speak to police and is calling for a federal investigation; he says Darrin’s arrest and pat-down not only violates civil right law, but also a 2011 settlement agreement between the City of Philadelphia and a group of plaintiffs who successfully argued that the Philadelphia Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices violate the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions.
And all I can think as I wipe my tears is, “here we go again.” A kid—a Black boy—is in a wheelchair, in pain, cloaked in humiliation and fear and quite possibly bogus charges, all because he had the outright audacity to wear a scarf over his face in the cold and refused to scamper like a rat-thug in the middle of breaking the law when a cop crossed his path.
Earlier this week in my post, “Eff Madonna, Sarah Palin & the Naked Black Woman Chair,” I made clear that I’m so over the crazy, racist crap that seems to be seeping into every nook and cranny of our existence—on social media, in magazines and newspapers, on TV and in the movies, anywhere and everywhere. I want to—need to—check out, because life needs to be lived and sanity needs to be protected and dammit, that shit just wears me out.
But reading about Darrin makes me want to holler and throw up both my hands. And some ‘bows. Because how can it be that in 2014, little black boys are still having their bodies discriminated against and brutalized and mutilated and forever scarred over… nothing? What kind of animal does this to a kid—a human being?
Going cold and disconnecting is not an option. We simply cannot let things like this happen and act as if it is normal and par for the course—the cost of doing business with brown skin. It is not… fucking… right.
But what do we do about it?
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.