Rickia Young, a 29-year-old woman who was reportedly pulled from her car and beaten by police officers, is set to receive $2 million from the city of Philadelphia after the Philadelphia police used her toddler in a social media photo op to “justify their actions.”
In the early morning hours of October 27, 2020, Rickia Young was driving home with the teenage son of a family friend, referred to as her nephew, and her two year old son when she came upon a large group of demonstrators protesting police violence after the shooting death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. Young had picked up the teenager, who was unable to leave West Philadelphia and was “afraid of the growing tensions between the police and those protesting Mr. Wallace’s killing” when she came upon the protest, which was blocking off Chestnut Street.
Her lawyers say she tried to make a U-turn but was forced to stop to avoid hitting protesters who were running near her vehicle. In a cellphone video from a bystander, her vehicle, an S.U.V., can be seen stopped at a police barricade as officers surround the vehicle.
Riley Ross, one of Young’s lawyers, recalled the instance, “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. 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,” (NY Times).
Just moments after Young was arrested, the Fraternal Order of Police’s legislative liaison shared a photo of an officer holding her toddler to show the police were protecting a wandering child from harm amid the unrest. The post has since been deleted.
Following an internal affairs investigation, two officers were fired and fourteen more are awaiting disciplinary proceedings according to a city spokesman. Danielle Outlaw, who serves as the police commissioner of Philadelphia, said the behavior of some of the officers involved in the incident with Young “violated the mission of the Philadelphia Police Department.”
She added, “As a matter of fact, the ability for officers and supervisors on the scene to diffuse the situation was abandoned, and instead of fighting crime and the fear of crime, some of the officers on the scene created an environment that terrorized Rickia Young, her family and other members of the public.”
While Young and her lawyers also want criminal charges filed against the officers responsible, Kevin Mincey, one of Young’s representatives, recognized this case as a victory. “It’s life-changing money for Rickia and her family,” Mincey said. “But what she went through was equally life-changing.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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