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Demonstrators protesting the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. on Oct. 31, 2020. Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Alfonse Bowman, a 20-year-old student at Morehouse College, filed a lawsuit on May 25 against the City of Philadelphia and two police officers, alleging that an officer hit him with a baton during a protest in October 2020.

Bowman wanted to witness the protest that followed the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. According to Bowman, he and two of his friends sat in an automobile in West Philadelphia when an officer stuck his baton through an open window of the car. The officer struck Bowman in the face, resulting in Bowman's multiple facial reconstructive surgeries. 

To reconstruct his face, a titanium plate was inserted to support Bowman's left eye. But even after three surgeries, he still feels pain. The significant physical damage was also accompanied by Bowman's now-heightened anxiety around the police.

“As a young Black man, I learned this at a young age. But it’s something different that comes with it when you been through it," Bowman told The Philadelphia Inquirer

After Bowman was injured, he immediately tried to report the situation to an officer nearby with the help of his friends. However, the lawsuit alleged that the officer refused to make the report and to call for medical assistance. Bowman told the Inquirer that he returned home that night, then went to Abington Hospital after concerns about facial trauma. At the hospital, doctors found that multiple bones were shattered along the left side of Bowman’s face, including those supporting his nose and eye socket. 

After 15 months of investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department’s Internal Affairs has yet to tell Bowman the identity of the officers involved, and the case is still ongoing.