Naji Tribble, a 14-year-old boy, who was roaming through local shops as part of his routine with his friends on Thursday, May 11, is now being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after an off-duty police officer slammed his head into the ground and fractured his skull. This incident is another blatantly obvious case of abusive policing due to racial profiling.
The incident began as Naji and his friends entered a new gym that was among the shops they frequented. When they entered the gym a group of white men, who were working out, began to verbally accost them with racial slurs, so Naji and his friends left the gym. After they left, one man followed them, and some of Naji’s friends threw stones at the man. His friends decided to run, but Naji did not because he felt he “didn’t do anything wrong.” The man then caught up to Naji at the intersection of Girard and College avenues and grabbed Naji by the shirt, shook him around and called him a “little n***er” and made more threats towards him.
Naji ran home and told his family members, and then they returned to the intersection to find the man. Naji, along with his 19-year-old sister Nayanda, and 47-year-old Mother Antoinette, arrived to find the man at the intersection, and things escalated again.
“The man was still down the street from us… and when I went over to him, he choked-slammed me to the ground. Next thing I know, he grabs Naji and slams his head to the ground …. I can hear his head hit against the pavement,” said Nayanda. Antoinette continues describing the events saying, “By the time I get out the door, I see this man grabbing my son and throwing him to the ground … I run over and he pushes me down… I remained on the ground holding my son. I knew then that he was injured badly.”
After more witnesses had gathered and Naji’s father Alfred had arrived at the scene, the “string of cop cars” began to arrive. This is when the situation escalated even more as the police called the pedestrians “motherf*ckers” and told them to get away before they “locked” them up. Once the man who injured Naji and his family was identified as Kevin Furman, a police officer, then Sgt. Soto, another police officer on the scene, put Naji in a police car.
After a complicated series of events and trying to file a complaint on the off-duty officer and getting Naji out of police custody, it was discovered 3 weeks later that Naji has a fractured skull.
“We have received the formal complaint from the family, and Internal Affairs has now launched an open investigation into the matter… They are currently in the process of interviewing people named in the complaint and looking into all other information surrounding the incident,” said a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department.
The family is seeking justice for this cruel display of bigotry committed by an off-duty law enforcement officer.
For a more detailed account of these events check out Philly Mag.