TROY, Ala. -- Graphic images showing a 17-year-old, badly injured after an encounter with Troy Police, are causing outrage on social media. The post has thousands of shares and comments.
The teen's relatives claim the teen is a victim of police brutality by the Troy Police Department.
TPD says they arrested the teen on Christmas Eve after he fled from officers and led them on a lengthy foot pursuit. The police claim that the teen resisted arrest and kept reaching for his waistband, as if to grab a gun, prompting officers to use physical force. Police confirm he did not have a gun on him at the time.
But family friend Simba Popoola says, "The child was pretty much walking at night, minding his business. Next thing as far as we know, police officers see the young man walking, and it escalated from there."
The teen suffered serious injuries and is currently waiting for swelling to go down before he can have surgery.
"The child had to be transferred from UAB in Birmingham," said Popoola. "He had swelling on the brain, and his eye socket as far as my knowledge was busted up in three places."
Popoola said they don't want this to ever happen again in Troy, but he hopes it makes people realize that it could happen to anyone. "No matter who you are, where you're at, doesn't matter what color you are, police brutality is real. 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."
Many people are calling for the release of the body cam and dash cam footage, police reports, and the names of the officers involved. All of which they have been denied so far. So they plan to protest for answers. "We will be holding a rally in Downtown Troy, across from the Troy Police Department this Saturday at 9:00 a.m."
Popoola added that right now they are just going off of what they know, but this movement is in search of the truth. "We got the facts from one side, we would like to know what happened on their side."
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves released a statement on the incident. Wilkerson has been charged with Obstructing to Government Operations and Resisting Arrest.