Troy officers cleared by grand jury in police brutality case

Troy officers cleared by grand jury in police brutality case
Graphic Photo - Full size image of Ulysses Wilkerson's injuries. (Source: CNN)
Graphic Photo - Full size image of Ulysses Wilkerson's injuries. (Source: CNN)

TROY, AL (WSFA) - A grand jury has determined four Troy police officers acted properly in a case of police brutality against 17-year-old Ulysses Wilkerson.

According to police, officers saw Wilkerson walk from behind a closed downtown business just before midnight on Dec. 23. He then allegedly fled on foot as the officers got out of their vehicle to investigate. While being apprehended, police say Wilkerson refused to put his hands behind his back and reached for his waistband, as if reaching for a weapon. That prompted officers to use physical force to restrain him.

The teen had to be taken to an area hospital before being transported to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital for additional treatment. He's since been released. Still, the incident caused a public outcry in Troy and demands for an investigation.

According to Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, all the evidence in the case was investigated by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, then presented to a grand jury made up of Pike County residents. The evidence included audio and video footage.

Jackson and Supernumerary District Attorney Tommy Smith of Tuscaloosa were appointed as the prosecuting authorities in the case following the recusal of Pike County's DA.

Jackson said the video showed the officer trying to get the second handcuff on Wilkerson and when he refused to comply, the officer struck him several times. Smith said a number of witnesses addressed the jury, including some who saw the incident. Smith said based on all the evidence, witness interviews, and analysis, he is "satisfied" with the decision that was reached.

Jackson said the video from the incident will be released in the "near future" after Wilkerson's case is tried. He's charged with resisting arrest and obstruction. Smith put the date of video release at around two weeks.

The Troy Police Department released a statement Thursday night:

"A Pike County Grand Jury has cleared Troy Police Officers in a well-publicized arrest of a juvenile in December of 2017.

The State Bureau of Investigation completed a thorough independent investigation of this case. The results of that investigation were turned over to an independent team of prosecutors appointed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. The facts of the case were presented to the Grand Jury and the Grand Jury found that the officers acted appropriately and did not commit any crime.

No further information will be released due to a pending trial for criminal charges against the juvenile."

The SBI says it will, at the Department of Justice's request, turn over its files to the DOJ for review.

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