Grand jury decides not to indict officers involved in physical arrest of teen

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

A grand jury has decided not to indict four officers that were involved in an arrest with the use of physical force against a juvenile in December 2017.

Special prosecutor Michael W. Jackson, district attorney of the 4th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, said the investigation was presented to a grand jury Wednesday and that it was “no-billed,” meaning the case will not be going to public trial.

“The grand jury felt like the officers acted properly when making that arrest,” Jackson said.

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The teen, revealed by family to be 17-year-old Ulysses Wilkerson III, reportedly fled from officers when they tried to make contact with him after he emerged from behind a closed business downtown. Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said officers resorted to physical force when the teen resisted arrest and reached for his waistband as if going for a gun.

Wilkerson was transported to Troy Regional Medical Center and then to the University of Alabama Birmingham hospital with a bloody and swollen face. He has since recovered from the injury, although the family previously spoke about Wilkerson suffering a potential orbital fracture.

The incident began just before midnight on Dec. 23 and Mayor Jason Reeves asked the State Bureau of Investigation to step in and investigate the following day.

Reeves released a statement Thursday stating that a gag order has been made that prevents him from commenting further.

“Today it was announced that a Pike County grand jury determined that probable cause did not exist to charge Troy police officers with any offense related to the well-publicized arrest of a juvenile in December of 2017,” Reeves said. “The matter was independently investigated by the Alabama (State) Bureau of investigation and an outside, independent prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General, who presented the matter to the grand jury which heard the facts and reviewed the evidence and came to a decision.

“Because of a judicial order in the pending criminal case against the juvenile I can make no further statement or release any further information at this time. I appreciate the public’s patience as we continue through the judicial process.”

Since then, the family and community, as well as outside protestors, have called on city officials and police to release body cam footage and other evidence in the arrest.

Reeves and SBI officials responded that they would not be releasing evidence during the investigation.

Jackson said the grand jury was presented all body cam footage of the incident as well as with testimonies from the parties involved.

This concludes the criminal investigation of the officers involved in the arrest, but family attorney Dusty Fowler said he and other family attorneys are still planning to proceed with civil litigation and Jackson said Wilkerson will have a juvenile hearing soon, although he could not give an exact date.

Barr and Fowler declined to comment on the result of the grand jury at this time.