Police officials are urging the state of Alabama to investigate an incident in which a Black teenager was brutally beaten by cops in Troy over Christmas weekend.
According to WHNT News, 17-year-old KeAndre Wilkerson was arrested on Christmas Eve after fleeing from officers. While his reason for running from the cops is unknown, some have speculated that Wilkerson simply ran out of fear.
We all know how this story goes. Police later claimed he resisted arrest and reached for his waistband “as if to grab a gun,” prompting their use of excessive force. According to a family friend, however, Wilkerson had been “minding his business” before being approached by the cops.
“The child was pretty much walking at night,” Simba Popoola told WHNT. “Next thing as far as we know, police officers see the young man walking, and it escalated from there.”
Popoola said that following the altercation, Wilkerson had to be transferred from UAB in Birmingham for treatment of his injuries. Wilkerson reportedly suffered swelling on the brain and trauma to his eye socket.
The incident has since sparked outrage in the Alabama community, with many demanding the release of the body and dash cam footage, police reports, and the names of the officers involved. So far, all requests have been denied. While the Troy Police Department has yet to respond to WHNT’s request for comment, the TPD has reportedly asked the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to conduct a formal independent investigation into the case.
In the meantime, community members plan to protest during a rally in Downtown Troy across from the TPD at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday (December 30).
“No matter who you are, where you’re at, doesn’t matter what color you are, police brutality is real,” Popoola continued. “We’d like to bring forward this city right here, wake them up by the masses and let them know it’s in our city right now, and people need some support in search of the truth.”