Phillip w/ Mom, sisters, and daughter (Causes.com Photo)
After more than a year of no action and unanswered questions involving the incident that resulted in her son being paralyzed, Kelly McKenzie is demanding action from the Westmoreland County district attorney and access to the case information.
“They’re giving us the runaround; they just want this to go away,” said McKenzie. “They’re just buying time until the statute of limitations runs out. They are not interested in helping Phillip.”
On June 17, 2012, Phillip McKenzie, then 20, went to pick up his infant daughter from her mother’s family’s Patton Avenue home in Jeanette, so they could spend Father’s Day together. According to McKenzie, the mother of his child told her son that he could pick her up, even though there was a no contact rule between him and his ex-girlfriend’s stepfather.
McKenzie said once Phillip McKenzie arrived, family members began to argue with him, an altercation broke out, and during the fight McKenzie and one of the relatives fell off the porch. She said McKenzie hit the gas meter, severing his spinal cord. He was transported by helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital.
He was paralyzed and had five surgeries in one week.
Now, more than a year later, no one has been charged and McKenzie believes it’s because her son is Black and the family is White.
“When the incident first happened, I put my faith into the justice system and as things happened I realized it has a lot to do with racial prejudice. I’m not like that and my kids aren’t like that.
Racism is a big problem in Jeanette,” McKenzie, who is White, said in an earlier interview.
According to McKenzie her son’s case is still open, but she was told no one would be charged and has not been given any answers as to why not.
“My question is, if you’re telling me no charges are going to be filed, then why not close it (the case)?” McKenzie said. “Close it and give us the information so we can get closure and see why you came to this decision.”
Phillip McKenzie’s case was later turned over to the Westmoreland County Police Department. When the New Pittsburgh Courier spoke with Det. Terry Kuhns, they were told the case was now being handled by the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s office. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck was contacted several times, but failed to respond.
McKenzie’s family is receiving support from many individuals and organizations within the community, including the local, state and national NAACP.
“I think Ms. Kelly McKenzie’s request for a meeting should be honored without delay. During that meeting the prosecutor should be prepared to inform them where the case is, explain the delay in the investigation process and assure her that it will be top priority from here on out. There is no good reason why these steps should not have taken place,” said Rev. Jack Sullivan Jr., the Greensburg/Jeanette NAACP branch president.
“Our state and national presidents have committed themselves to helping Kelly McKenzie with the case. It’s been my honor to stand with Kelly McKenzie.”
McKenzie said she is committed and will not stop until her son receives justice.
Sign the petition at Justice For Phillip Mynahan Mckenzie
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