educator, writer, speaker, devoted family man, amateur philosopher, chess enthusiast, basketball junkie, connoisseur of fine hip hop, and purveyor of wit and wisdom
Yesterday, my brother DeJon showed me an article from the Huffington Post about the Darrin Manning incident (this article HERE). For those that don’t know, back in January, sixteen-year-old honors student Darrin Manning and his basketball teammates exited the bus preparing to enter the gym to play an away game. They were given gloves, hats, and scarves from a school official to guard against the severe cold of a Philadelphia January. Outside of the gym, they noticed some police officers walking toward them. Someone may have made a snide remark (that part’s unclear), and then the boys started running with officers chasing them.
According to the police report, officer Thomas Purcell stated that he saw a group of black males running away with ski masks. Boys were running, but shortly thereafter, Darrin Manning said to himself “I didn’t do anything wrong,” and stopped running.
A female officer (who is still not named due to internal investigations) joined Officer Purcell. The female officer began patting down the student, grabbed his testicles and pulled down pretty hard.
After being arrested and spending eight hours in jail, Darrin Manning was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to have emergency surgery on his testicles. (The Huffington Report stated that it was a ruptured testicle, but a new medical report was made public a month later showing the injury was a bit less severe.)
My brother and I were at the dining room table talking about the story and throwing in our comments about police brutality. Then we moved on to something else. Later my brother went outside and I continued working on my laptop.
I looked up to find my nine-year-old crying.
I asked him to come talk with me, but he said never mind and that he was fine. But I pressed and he finally broke down sobbing. The big gut wrenching crying with large tears. I was sitting at the table, and he came over and wrapped his arms around me and just broke down.
After he caught his breath a bit, I asked him to tell me what was going on, and he said he was crying for the boy in the article. He overheard DeJon and I talking about the Manning case, and felt bad that police would do something like that to a black kid that did nothing wrong.
We talked some more. I asked him to tell me how it made him feel. He said he felt sadness and anger and fear all at the same time. I explained how the vast majority of police officers are good people and if we ever needed help, then we really should call the police. I also explained that the news article reported on a rare case, and that’s what makes it news (the media reports on what’s new and not on what’s common).
He’s a smart boy and he understood. He just needed to feel what he felt.
That’s when I told him that not only did he do the right thing by letting me know what he was feeling, but that I was also proud of him for actually reacting that way. Too many of us adults will read a story like this Darrin Manning case, make comments about it, spread links about it around Facebook or Twitter, and then forget about it as we move on to the latest celebrity gossip.
Yesterday, my son heard something terribly upsetting and he reacted appropriately.
He wept for someone else’s suffering.