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Highway protest rally not held

Monday came and went without a rally featuring “national leaders” blocking U.S. Highway 231 to call for evidence in the case of the Troy Police Department’s use of force against a teen.

Kenneth Glasgow, who has served as a spokesperson for the teen’s family, called for the rally during a protest he organized outside the police Department on Saturday, Dec. 30.

Efforts Monday to reach Glasgow for comment were unsuccessful.

“I spoke with several residents of Troy at a town hall meeting (Tuesday) and asked them if they wanted to block the highway, and they said they did,” Glasgow said after a town hall meeting at St. Peter Baptist Church on Jan. 11. “I was going to look at doing it on a Saturday, but they wanted to do it on a Monday. So it will be Monday, Feb. 5.”

Glasgow issued an ultimatum to Troy officials at the Dec. 30, 2017, rally to release evidence and discipline the officers involved in the incident by Jan. 5 or he would call on “national leaders” to come and block the highway for another rally.

The incident began shortly before midnight on Dec. 23, 2017, when police said they saw Wilkerson emerge from behind a closed business. As officers attempted to stop the teen, he allegedly fled on foot. Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said officers used “reasonable and necessary” force to subdue the teen after he resisted arrest and reached for his waistband. Barr said a gun was later found along the route of the pursuit.

Angela Williams, the 17-year-old’s mother, posted photos of his bloody and swollen face on social media following the arrest. The photos circulated quickly and the family held a press conference the following Friday to call on city officials for answers.

Police, local officials and representatives of the State Bureau of Investigation all have refused to release details of the incident, citing an ongoing investigation. One officer has been placed on administrative leave, but officials have not released his identity.

Outrage over the incident also has drawn threats of an economic boycott.

The SBI released a statement Saturday that it is standard practice not to release information during an investigation.

“It is understandable for members of the family and other concerned citizens to have questions,” said SBI officer Gregory Carpenter in the statement. “It is SBI’s responsibility to collect, report and communicate all related facts in a properly legal manner so that the criminal justice system is best equipped to render a finding. SBI does not condone any premature releases of information that could jeopardize the rights of all involved parties and/or undermine the course of justice.”

Mayor Jason Reeves said a commitment to a “full and fair investigative process” prohibits him from discussing details.

“All involved and our community must await the gathering of facts and the completion of this investigation,” Reeves said. “I continue to ask for patience as we allow SBI to complete their work. It is my intent to do everything I can to ensure a timely and proper resolution of this matter.”

Dusty Fowler, an attorney for the family, declined to comment for this story.