Graphic photos of teen beaten by police go viral as family demands answers

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 6:54 PM

Teen Beaten By Police, Graphic Photos Go Viral

A 17-year-old Alabama boy’s encounter with police over Christmas weekend ended with him bloodied, bruised and broken, and his family and the community are demanding answers from law enforcement officials. 

Agents from Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident, which took place late Saturday night in Troy. Police officials there told WSFA in Montgomery that the teen, Ulysses Wilkerson, was spotted emerging from behind a closed downtown business around 11:52 p.m. that night.

Officers said the teen ran as they approached him, so they gave chase. WSFA reported that the officers said they used force after Ulysses failed to comply with orders to put his hands behind his back. 

They also alleged that the teen moved his hands toward his waistband as though reaching for a weapon. Though no weapon was found on or near Ulysses, officers said that they returned to the area, retraced the path in which he ran and located a handgun on the ground.

The gun has been submitted to be processed for evidence, WSFA reported

Ulysses’ family, who posted photos of the boy’s bloody and misshapen face on Facebook, argued that the officers tried to kill him. His mother, Angela Williams, wrote that the officers beat her son after he was already handcuffed. 

Williams’ post, which showed a close-up of her son’s face, had been shared more than 82,000 times as of Thursday afternoon. 

Ulysses’ father also shared multiple photos of his son on social media.

“As y’all can see, Troy police officers tried to kill my son,” the post from Sadot Wilkerson reads. “He has massive swelling and they can’t start surgery until (the) swelling goes down.”

Click here to see the photos. Warning: The images are extremely graphic.

The family told WDHN News 18 in Dothan that Ulysses suffered swelling to the brain and his eye socket was cracked in three places. 

In the graphic photos, Ulysses lies in a hospital bed, his pillow smeared with blood from his battered face. One eye is swollen completely shut and his nose and lips are caked with dried blood. 

One image shows handcuffs around at least one of his wrists. 

Community activist Caros Chaverst Jr. also shared the images. Like Williams, Chaverst alleged in his Facebook post that police officers punched and kicked Ulysses while the boy was already handcuffed. 

He also said that Ulysses ran from the officers out of fear after he and a friend were approached. 

“Upon catching him, the police left him as seen in the pictures below,” Chaverst wrote. “An unarmed kid.”

A woman who said she drove by the scene Saturday night described for WDHN seeing the officers surrounding Ulysses, who was on the ground and appeared unconscious.

“You could see the swelling of his face (and) you could tell he had a lot of bleeding,” Brittany Patterson told the news station. “It looked like he was passed out or maybe in and out of consciousness.”

Patterson said the first thought that came to her mind was, “I hope they are not beating him.”

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Chaverst wrote that it was hours after the incident before any of Ulysses relatives were made aware of what happened. Williams, in posting her son’s photo just before 5 a.m. on Christmas Eve, wrote that she was only then heading to UAB, where Ulysses had been transferred from Troy Regional Medical Center for possible facial surgery. 

Chaverst urged his followers to demand that the Troy Police Department and the city release body camera footage so the truth behind what happened could be made public. 

“This family is hurting,” Chaverst wrote

The family told WDHN that Ulysses has been released from the hospital, but remains under medical observation. He will likely need surgery once some of the swelling in his face and head goes down. 

Ulysses’ father told the news station that, though his son was handcuffed and was initially facing obstruction of justice charges, those charges have since been dropped. 

WDHN reported that officials from the police department and the Troy mayor’s office have declined to comment on the case. 

State investigators said in a statement that once their investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the Pike County District Attorney’s Office for presentation to a grand jury. 

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Powerball-winning ticket worth $457M sold in Pennsylvania

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 8:05 AM

Tips on Winning the Lottery

Do you live in Pennsylvania? You might be $457 million richer.

According to the Powerball lottery, a single ticket sold in Pennsylvania matched all five numbers and the Powerball to win Saturday's massive jackpot, a $273.9 million cash value. 

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The winning numbers were 22-57-59-60-66 with Powerball 7.

If you missed out on Saturday's prize, you have another chance to win big in Tuesday's $377 million Mega Millions drawing.

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Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 7:53 AM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, Texas, remembered him as a kind young man and a talented musician.

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Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet.

Mason’s Facebook page shows that he was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in local music programs such as the Austin Youth Orchestra, where he was the principal double bass player, and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves, where he was also the principal bassist.

“He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around,” said his friend, Kylie Phillips. “He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. … I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died.”

Another friend from school, Stephanie Lucio, remembered him as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”

“As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery,” Lucio said. “She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”

>> On 265 reports of suspicious packages; reward raised to $65,000

Former Austin Council Member Mike Martinez said he had met Mason and re-posted on Facebook a photo of them together.

“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”

Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music, UT spokesman J.B. Bird said Tuesday.

The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster, offered his condolences, calling Mason a “most remarkable talent” who had the “chops to study music in college.”

“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school … He carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” Dempster said. “The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak.”

Some of Mason’s teachers grieved for him on social media, describing him as a remarkable student.

Sam Osemene, a U.S. government professor at Austin Community College, said he was intelligent and well-loved by everyone in the classroom.

“He was a very vibrant young man, full of life, always smiling,” Osemene told the American-Statesman on Tuesday. “He had what I call a zeal to succeed.”

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Mason had previously shared a couple videos of classical string performances on his Facebook page, and several photos of him show him playing a double bass or sitting at a piano.

A spokesperson from Soundwaves said Mason had worked with its executive director since he was 11 years old.

Mason had left a five-star review on Austin Soundwaves’ Facebook page: “Austin Soundwaves is a great music programs that’s dedicated to the advancement of kids in East Austin thru the power of music,” he wrote. “They push everyone to strive and to do great things in life.”

The group had been contacted by Mason’s family and asked not to comment further.

Mason had performed with the Austin Youth Orchestra for the last six years, its conductor, William Dicks, said Tuesday.

“He was an outstanding young man that had the talent and artistry to be a first class professional musician,” Dicks said. “It’s senseless.”

The first victim

Mason was the second person killed in the series of package explosions that began earlier this month.

Anthony House, who was killed in the first package bombing on March 2, was father to an 8-year-old girl and a Pflugerville High School and Texas State University graduate. Friends remembered him as quiet, clean-cut and driven.

House ran track and played basketball at Pflugerville High School where he made friendships that lasted throughout his life.

“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” said fellow Pflugerville Panther Greg Padgitt, who graduated two years before House. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”

After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in business administration, finance and financial management services in 2008, House started a money managing firm, serving as president of House Capital Management LLC. More recently he worked as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries, a Cedar Park-based lime fabricator, and Acme Brick, a Fort Worth-based firm. According to public records, House had recently begun attending Austin Community College.

>> On COMPLETE COVERAGE: Austin’s package explosions

House’s family members declined to speak to the media Tuesday, but Freddie Dixon, House’s stepfather, had previously told the Washington Post that he thinks the bombings were a hate crime.

“Are you trying to say something to prominent African-American families?” Dixon, who is close friends with Mason’s grandfather and is the co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League, told the Post. “It’s not just coincidental.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat from Austin, expressed his condolences for House via Facebook on Tuesday afternoon: “The family of Anthony Stephan House, including his wife and 8-year-old daughter, has endured such a terrible loss through an absolutely inexplicable act of violence. Anthony was laid to rest this past weekend. I’ve known his stepfather, the Rev. Freddie Dixon, for many years and send my deepest condolences to the family.”

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Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say

Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 10:07 PM

Police Investigating Fatal Package Explosions In Austin

Three package explosions in Austin in the past two weeks appear similar and related, authorities said Monday, and police are warning residents against taking suspicious packages inside their homes.

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Teen hit by bus during Washington D.C. field trip dies

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 12:03 AM

File photo.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A North Carolina teen visiting the nation’s capitol on a middle school field trip died Thursday after he was hit by a bus March 9, according to officials. 

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Hunter Brown, 14, of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, was struck and trapped under a tour bus at around 6:50 p.m. near the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, according to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

Responders were able to jack up the bus and free Brown after about 10 minutes, according to WFMY. He was taken to Children’s National Medical Center where he was in critical condition. 

Brown was visiting Washington, D.C., on an eighth grade field trip with other students from Central Wilkes Middle School, according to WFMY

The incident is being investigated by the U.S. Park Police Traffic Safety Unit and Criminal Investigations

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