Tigers' Phil Coke, others
discuss children and violence
before national task force
Phil Coke has been bullied.
The Detroit Tigers relief pitcher, testifying in Detroit this evening before members of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, said he was picked on as a child and is now working to stop bullying through the Detroit Tigers Foundation.
Coke is one of several child advocates testifying before the task force, which was commissioned by Attorney General Eric Holder to examine children’s exposure to violence through four national hearings. Task force members hear from experts and community members.
The hearing in Detroit, which continues Tuesday at Wayne State University, is the last stop.
Task force members praised Coke for being a role model, saying children being bullied today likely would be relieved to know they aren’t alone. The Detroit Tigers Foundation has a mission to enhance the quality of life in the community through baseball.
Coke said he was picked on because of his last name — also the name of a certain carbonated beverage — and because of his size.
“I wasn’t really that big when I was little,” he told the task force members. “When I was young, I was rather, rather undersized.”
Coke said he wants to raise awareness in schools about bullying.
Base on information the task force gathers from these hearings, it will present findings to Holder and make policy recommendations. A report will be published later this year.
The task force is part of Defending Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative launched by Holder in 2010.
As part of Tuesday’s program, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. is scheduled to speak on the department’s work in preventing youth violence.
In Detroit, children have become victims and perpetrators of violence in recent high-profile cases.
In January, 12-year-old Kade’jah Davis was fatally shot, reportedly during a dispute involving a cell phone. Joshua Brown, 19, is facing charges in the shooting, including first-degree murder.
In February, 9-month-old Delric Miller IV was killed when bullets from an assault rifle ripped through his home as he slept on a couch.
Also this year in Detroit, a 6-year-old boy was injured after being shot in an attempted carjacking, a 2-year-old was struck by a bullet outside his home and a 12-year-old boy was shot in the arm while playing basketball.
23 April 2012