By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
A case of a teenager’s arrest in Troy, Alabama, has caused the NAACP chapter of Pike County to call for a review of practices by the Troy Police Department.
The arrest on Dec. 23rd sparked national coverage after teenager Ulysses Wilkerson ended up in the hospital after a confrontation with police. Wilkerson’s mother posted on Facebook an image of the teen in a hospital bed with a black eye.
The NAACP chapter has organized several protests since the incident to protest police violence. Their calls for investigation came last week. Protest will continue throughout January with some protestors even suggesting that Highway 231, essentially the main road of Troy, be blocked by protestors.
“We want the community to understand this is not a witch hunt but a desire for justice,” NAACP spokeswoman Dianna Bascomb said at Friday’s press conference. “A system must be in place where accountability exists not only within the department but throughout the community as well. The NAACP is committed to a proactive approach to all forms of police brutality.”
Troy Police Chief Randall Barr told the local newspaper Troy Messenger that his officers responded appropriately to what they viewed as a threat. According to Barr, Wilkerson reached towards his waistband and that police responded by tackling him.
Wilkerson has a different account that includes officers beating the teen after he was handcuffed by police.
The case has now reached statewide and national attention with the State Bureau of Investigation looking at evidence of police misconduct. Pike County District Attorney Tom Anderson told the Troy Messenger that there does exist bodycam footage of the incident and that he is waiting till the conclusion of the SBI’s investigation.