Rally held for student charged with assault

FRANKFORD - December 14, 2009 The Reverend Al Sharpton's group, National Action Network, has now joined in the case of Jeffione Thomas, the group's Philadelphia chapter joined Thomas and his family in front of Frankford High School demanding justice.

Members of the National Action Network were adamant that they won't sit idly by in the case of Jeffione Thomas.

"We will not be silenced, we will not be silent. No one has the right to brutally beat students, especially a student, a good student that's on his way to school," said Paula Peeples.

Thomas, a star football player for Frankford High, says he was on his way to school on Oct. 29th when he had an encounter with two school district truant officers that landed him in the hospital with a black eye, lots of bruises to the face and lips and several loosened teeth.

"This is messed up," said Thomas.

Thomas, who was 17 at the time, says he was assaulted by the officers as he was walking into school after refusing officers request to get into their truancy van after being late for school.

The incident was captured by school surveillance cameras. A copy obtained by Action News shows Thomas down on the floor and the two officers on top of him scuffling.

The incident was also witnessed by a member of the school's ROTC program.

"He was approaching the building and two truancy officers came in and they cuffed him and they beat him half to death basically for about 7 to 10 minutes," said Denzel Parker-Dickson.

"When he came home from the hospital and I'd seen him and it killed me, it really hurts to watch your son look like that you know and to know that people of authority do something like that to your child," said Sharonda Dobry, Jeffione's mother.

Supporters of the student say, to add insult to injury, it was Thomas who was charged with assault. Members of Sharpton's group are outraged and claim the school district is dragging its feet in investigating the incident and demanding that the feds appoint a master to oversee a school district they say is troubled.

A school district spokesman says one officer was placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation. Furthermore they plan to interview Thomas sometime this week to get his account of the incident and that they hope to wrap up the investigation by the end of this week.

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