The fallout stemming from a rock-throwing incident between neighborhood teens and members of a new gym in Brewerytown resulted in a teen charged with assault and the same teen being hospitalized at the hands of an off-duty police officer.
Alfred Tribble looked up and down Girard Avenue and shook his head.
“My son could go into any one of these establishments — Deborah’s, Kim’s, Butter’s,” he said, rattling off the long-established businesses on the avenue, and they know him. He respected them, and they respected him,” said Tribble. “Not anymore.”
The fallout stemming from a rock-throwing incident between Tribble’s son, Naji Tribble, 14, and his friends against members of a Brewerytown gym continues. And it illustrates cultural clashes that can occur between old and new residents in rapidly changing neighborhoods.
Brewerytown, located just north of Fairmount and a few miles from Center City is considered a hot new community for city dwellers looking for affordable mortgages, and entrepreneurs looking for reasonable rents. The new development proves it.
The incident involving Tribble happened in May at Steelworks Strength Systems, a new, open-air gym in Brewerytown at 25th Street and Girard Avenue. Naji and his friends cut through the gym on their way home.
Philadelphia Magazine reported that the group disrupted a class, and the instructor cursed at them. Police say rocks were thrown at gym members.
That’s when things really got out of control.
A body slam, a cracked skull
According to police, Tribble ran up to one of the members, Catherine Furman, and punched her in the back of the head. Her husband, off duty Philadelphia police officer Kevin Furman, reacted by picking Tribble up and slamming him to the ground, cracking the teen’s skull.
Tribble, who weighs 67 pounds and stands 4-feet-5 inches, ended up being handcuffed and charged with assault. But his family says the allegations are false, and that Naji was the one who was assaulted and the only one who required hospitalization. Alfred Tribble says his son spent a week in intensive care. The family is considering a lawsuit against the police department.
“It’s no way it can be justified to anybody when you have a little 60-lb kid, 4-feet-tall if that, who gets massacred by a grown man fresh out of the gym lifting 250 pounds,” Tribble said.
Steelworks owner Brian Terpak did not want to comment about the incident but did say Girard Avenue business owners are working to improve outreach in the community.
Kevin Mincey, the family’s attorney, says the allegations against Tribble are not consistent with his character.
“He doesn’t have a history of doing anything like this,” Mincey said. “He’s just not the type a person, a kid that he’s been raised to be.”
The case took an unexpected turn on June 24, when Kevin Furman resigned from the police department. Furman could not be reached for comment.
The department continues its internal investigation. Mincey says he expects the charges against Tribble to be dismissed.