Officer cleared in Darrin Manning investigation

Darrin Manning, a student at the Mathematics, Civics and Science Charter School, alleged he was assaulted by a Philadelphia Police officer on January 7. — Photograph from the Facebook webpage Justice Rally for Darrin Manning

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released the findings of the grand jury investigation into the case of Darrin Manning on Thursday afternoon. The report concluded the high school student didn’t suffer a ruptured testicle as was claimed, and his version of events were exaggerated.

Williams was emphatic what happened to Manning on January 7, 2014, at 15th Street and Girard Avenue, could have gone terribly wrong but thankfully didn’t. He also said the officers involved acted with restraint when Manning resisted and at no time did a female officer squeeze his genitals and injure the school basketball player. In fact, an African-American male officer searched Manning during the brief confrontation with police, he said.

“The findings of the grand jury are exactly why I cautioned people not to rush to judgment in this case,” Williams said. “I owe it to the people of Philadelphia to examine all allegations of criminal activity methodically and professionally and not let public outcry affect my office in any way. In this instance that public outcry was misplaced and inaccurate.”

Manning became involved in a brief confrontation with Philadelphia police officers when he and six friends exited the Broad Street subway at the Girard Avenue stop, on January 7. Less than two minutes later, the boys came into contact with police officers. Williams said those facts were never in dispute. It’s what happened afterwards that led to public outcry, a host of accusations against police officers alleging misconduct and public demonstrations calling for the termination of the officers involved in the incident.

The grand jury reviewed surveillance footage from seven different locations, interviewed witnesses and concluded the officers involved acted responsibly. No criminal acts were committed by any officers, Williams said.

“The prosecutor is a minister of justice and responsible for protecting the integrity of the criminal justice system. Seeking justice means holding offenders accountable, protecting the innocent and preserving the rights of all,” he said. “Justice also requires — at all times — the representation of truth.”

According to Williams, Manning, a student at The Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School, changed his story several times when questioned by the grand jury. It was also determined that shortly after the incident with officers, he was asked if he had been injured and told the officers he wasn’t. The grand jury reviewed evidence that it wasn’t until the next day he told school board members and the principal that his “balls got squeezed, but it’s okay. It’s fine.”

The grand jury report reveals school administrators suggested he go to the hospital and his mother, Ikea Coney, transported him to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A Dr. Gregory Tasian examined the teen and was told by Manning and his mother he had been assaulted by a female officer. But Dr. Tasian found no evidence of a ruptured testicle, no evidence of trauma and exhibited none of the physical symptoms of such an injury having happened. Tasian told the grand jury that if he had been given a different narrative of what happened on January 7, he would not have performed an exploratory surgery to be certain there was no injury.

In fact, the grand jury determined by examining medical records that Manning had a preexisting medical condition, a varicocele, which was removed. A varicocele forms when valves inside the testicle veins prevent blood from flowing properly. The blood backs up causing swelling and widening of the veins. The condition is common in males between the ages of 15 to 25 and occurs on the left testicle. Varicoceles usually develop slowly and don’t cause sterility.

When the boys exited the Broad Street subway, they were pointing to officers in a van and talking. The officers, according to Williams didn’t know if something had happened in the subway, if they needed some assistance or if there was another problem. The grand jury concluded the officers had reasonable evidence to support the belief they should question the boys. Five of the boys ran; two didn’t. When they tried to question Manning he became combative. Williams said no further charges would be brought by his office against the teen or any charges filed against his mother as a result of the grand jury’s findings.

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