Attorneys For Ulysses Wilkerson, Alabama Teen Physically Assaulted By Police, Seeks Justice

For 17-year-old Ulysses Wilkerson, his Christmas Eve was spent handcuffed to a gurney inside the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital for wounds that left his face deformed. According to CNN, officers of the Troy Police Department apprehended Wilkerson late Saturday night (Dec. 23) when they came into contact with him in the city’s downtown area.

READ: Black Officers Refute Donald Trump’s Promotion Of Police Brutality: “We Are Not Thugs”

Wilkerson was approached by the officers who saw him near a closed store, but he allegedly started to run as they came closer, Buzzfeed notes. Once they caught up to him, their use of force to apprehend Wilkerson left the teen with a swollen-shut eye and bruises to his nose and lips. The officers claimed their physical overpowering was justifiable because they claim Wilkerson allegedly attempted to retrieve what they believed to be a weapon on his person.

Buzzfeed adds that once Wilkerson was arrested, officials revisited the route the young boy ran down and found a handgun along the way, which has entered evidence to see if it’s linked to the teen. Now, his family and attorneys want to know exactly why his injuries were necessary and called for a look at the officers’ body cameras or surrounding surveillance footage. Per a statement issued to CNN from Pike County District Attorney Tom Anderson, body camera footage of the incident exists, but one officer failed to have the device working.

Attorneys for the family, Ben Crump, Dustin Fowler, and Steve Etheredge, released a joint statement calling for justice. “We will do everything in out power to seek justice for Ulysses Wilkerson, an African-American teenager who was brutally beaten at the hands of police in Troy, Alabama, on the night of Dec. 23,” the statement reads. “We have been in communications with the state bureau of investigations, which has shared that they are diligently working toward answers for the community, the state and our country as they complete a thorough investigation. The family is adamant about the community staying engaged to help seek justice for their 17-year-old son. This is not just a matter of black and white, it is a matter of humanity.”

READ: Artist Imposes Himself Into Police Brutality Footage To Remind Us Why We Take A Knee

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the incident. Wilkerson was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction.