The city of Philadelphia has reached a $2 million settlement with Rickia Young, a young Black mother whose toddler was used for police propaganda, her lawyers say, after she was violently ripped from her SUV alongside her 16-year-old nephew and beaten last year.
In the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2020, Rickia Young was driving home with her 2-year-old son and teenage nephew when she found herself amidst a large crowd protesting the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. hours earlier, Young’s attorneys said at a press conference Tuesday announcing the settlement.
Young said she had been driving through West Philadelphia to pick up her nephew and when she tried to make a U-turn to avoid the protest, two dozen Philadelphia police officers surrounded her vehicle.
“Suddenly and without warning a pack of Philadelphia police officers wearing riot gear and wielding batons descended on the car, smashing multiple windows of the vehicle,” Riley Ross, one of Young’s lawyers, said at the news conference Tuesday. “The officers then violently yanked Ms. Young and her nephew from the vehicle and physically beat her, and him, in the street, causing significant injuries.”
For several hours, Young was handcuffed and separated from her nephew and toddler son. The incident was filmed on video and went viral on social media.
She was left bloodied and bruised.
Two days after the incident, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police labor union in the country, posted a photo of Young’s son being held by a Philadelphia officer on its Facebook.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the organization wrote in the now-deleted post. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child. We are not your enemy, we are the thin blue line and we are the only thing standing between order and anarchy.”
Two police officials, an officer and sergeant, have been fired from the department, however, no arrests have been made, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Young and her attorneys are asking the District Attorney to bring criminal charges against the officers responsible for the incident.
In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney denounced the officers’ actions.
“This terrible incident, which should have never happened to anyone, only further strained the relationship between the Police Department and our communities,” Mayor Jim Kenner said, NBC News reports. “The officers’ inexcusable actions that evening prompted an immediate and thorough investigation of the incident and for personnel to be disciplined and held accountable for their egregious conduct.”
He added, “I hope that the settlement and investigations into the officers’ actions bring some measure of closure to Ms. Young and her family.”
A spokesperson for Fraternal Order of Police and Philadelphia District Attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday.
1/ This post by @GLFOP is a lie. My firm @MinceyFitzRoss represents this boy and his mother. This photo was taken moments after police attacked their vehicle, busted out the windows, ripped the mother from her car and assaulted her. pic.twitter.com/6dmDfoBe2B
— Riley H. Ross III (@AttorneyRoss) October 30, 2020
That still isn’t enough for the trauma that family went through.