The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation is probing a local police department after grisly photos of a battered and bloodied teen made its rounds on social media this week.
Parents of 17-year-old Ulysses Wilkerson posted photos of their son to Facebook after his violent encounter with Troy police, who they say brutally beat the teen as they put him in handcuffs, according to Newsweek.
“Troy police officers did this to my son while he was in handcuffs,” the boy’s mother, Angela Willams, wrote in a post accompanied by a photo of Wilkerson with a severely swollen face and bloodied nose. “Please share this shit happening in Troy, Al now. I hope that they body camera was on and they haven’t told me shit yet. Please share I’m heading to Birmingham to UAB he has fracture and had to transport to have surgery.”
Her post has since been shared more than 61,000 times.
According to a release from the Alabama SBI, officers arrested the teen Saturday, Dec. 23, after they saw him walk from behind a closed downtown business that night around 11:52 p.m. Officers said they approached but Wilkerson fled on foot, running until officers caught up to him. Authorities said he refused to comply with their order to place his hands behind his back and struggled, at one point appearing to reach for his waistband for a weapon.
That’s when they were forced to use physical force to restrain him, they said.
Wilkerson was transported to University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham and was later released. His father, Ulysses Wilkerson, Jr., said his son suffered multiple injuries as a result of the incident.
“He had trauma to the brain, swelling on the brain, and a cracked eye socket in three different places,” the elder Wilkerson told local station WDHN. “From all over the world, people are commenting they want justice.”
Witness Brittany Patterson, who drove by the scene, said she remembered seeing a lot of blood.
“You could see the swelling of his face you could tell he had a lot of bleeding,” Patterson said. “He looked like he was passed out or maybe in and out of consciousness.”
Wilkerson was charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest, both of which were later dropped. After returning to the scene, however, police reportedly recovered a weapon and took it in as evidence, WSFA 12 News reported. The matter is still under investigation.
The teen’s family is now demanding that body and dash cam footage of the incident be released.