Philadelphia PD Investigating White Officer For Allegedly Detaining Black Teen
|thenorthstar||Sep 21, 2019|
The Philadelphia Police Department is investigating an incident involving a white police officer and a Black teen after a video went viral on social media.
The video, posted to Instagram on September 12, shows a white police officer temporarily detaining a Black teenager who was reportedly waiting at a bus stop in North Philadelphia, KYW-TV reported. In the video, the white officer can be heard telling the teen, “Remember, you were shaking in the police car.”
“The officer pushed the boy in the car and slams the car door and proceeded to make the rest of us go away. 4 officers and none could tell us what the boy did besides the fact of wait for the bus along with the rest of the group,” the caption on Instagram read.
The teenager in the video has been identified as Jahvon Beener by Philadelphia Magazine. Beener told the publication that he and ten of his classmates left Vaux Big Picture High School around 3 p.m. on September 12 and walked to the SEPTA bus stop at the intersection of 24th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
While waiting at the bus stop, Beener said that a white male police officer drove past the group, staring at them. A few minutes later, the officer returned with two more police vehicles and three other officers. Beener told the magazine that he had been singled out by the white officer, who grabbed his arm and ordered him into the back of a police car.
“I kept asking him why was he doing this. He squeezed hard on my arm as I tried to let go. He yelled at me to get inside his car, threw my legs in the back of the car, and slammed the door. I started shaking — I was scared for my life,” Beener told the magazine.
“I kept asking him what’s wrong and that I didn’t want any trouble. He kept yelling at me. I didn’t understand what was going on.”
Asia Wilkerson, the 16-year-old student who posted the video to Instagram, told Philadelphia Magazine that Beener had not done anything wrong.
“Von didn’t do anything wrong, and for them to just put him in a police car without telling him why didn’t make any sense,” Wilkerson told the publication. “I pulled out my phone and filmed it because I wanted to make sure he was safe and for them to know that none of us were going to leave until he got out of that car alive.”
Wilkerson told Philadelphia Magazine that once the officer noticed Beener’s classmates weren’t going to leave despite him telling them to do so, he reportedly “treated the situation as a joke and eventually let Von go.”
“The cop started laughing and smiling like what he was doing was okay,” Wilkerson told the publication. “When he let Von out of the car, he told him to tell us why he stopped him and something very messed up.”
Beener, who had taken his shirt off because he was hot, said he was asked by the officer why he was shaking and said he felt humiliated after the officer had let him go.
“He told me to remember that I was shaking in a police car,” Beener told the publication.
“Before I got out of the car, he had asked me why was I shaking and why had I taken my shirt off. I told him it was because it was hot outside and he acted like he didn’t believe me. He let me out and I felt humiliated and hurt.”
In a statement on Twitter, the Philadelphia Police Department said it takes “all matters involving the stopping, detainment, and investigation of citizens very seriously.” The department stated it had launched an internal affairs investigation on the matter and urged anyone with information to call the Internal Affairs Department at (215) 685-5056.
Following the department’s statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was “concerned” over what he saw in the viral video.
“I’m concerned by what I saw on the video and know that incidents like this can cause distrust among residents and our officers,” Kenney wrote on Twitter on September 18. “We are investigating, and we remain committed to building stronger relationships between police and the communities they serve.”
The investigation comes just a few days after Philadelphia’s Interim Police Commissioner Christine Coulter issued an apology after the Philadelphia Inquirer uncovered a photo taken of her in the 1990s wearing a T-shirt mocking Rodney King’s beating by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.