After reaching a settlement, the city of Philadelphia will pay $2 million to a Black woman beaten by police officers in front of her 2-year-old son during protests against police violence last fall. Officers may have to pay for seizing her son and using him in a propaganda photo, as well.
Rickia Young was assaulted last October, during protests over the deadly police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. Her settlement was first announced Tuesday. Last year, Young arrived on the scene with her toddler to pick up her teenage nephew, and her car was swarmed by officers as she tried to back away from a standoff between police and protesters. The officers broke her window, pulled her and her nephew from the car, and beat them both. Witnesses captured the attack on video, and several officers are seen bashing Young’s car with batons before ripping her out of the vehicle and brutally attacking her.
Young’s lawyer, Kevin Mincey, said the assault left her with “a bloody nose, a swollen trachea, blood in her urine and swelling and pain on her left side."
“I hope that the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like this to another person ever again,” Young said during a Tuesday press conference.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Tuesday the assault “violated the mission” of the Philadelphia Police Department and officers on the scene “created an environment that terrorized Rickia Young, her family, and other members of the public.”
And the brutal attack wasn’t the end of the terror that night. As Young was arrested and taken to a police precinct, Philadelphia police separated her from her 2-year-old son. Shortly after, police staged a photo of an officer holding the boy as though she was his caretaker, and they posted the photo to a police union Facebook page. The caption was obvious propaganda, claiming Young’s child had been “lost” during the violent riots and that he’d been “wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing lawlessness.”
“The only thing this police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child,” the post claimed.
Young’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the police union, the National Fraternal Order of Police, for staging the misleading photo.
“This post was designed to stoke political anger, fear and resentment,” Mincey said. “All of this was done, one week before a contested national election in an effort to advance the political interests of the NFOP.”
“And it was done at the expense of the well-being of a young child and his mother,” he added.
Last October, a spokesperson for the NFOP claimed the group “immediately” removed the photo after learning of “conflicting accounts of the circumstances” behind it.
But their excuses may have come too late. Philadelphia is already on the hook for millions due to this instance of police brutality. And the city’s police may have to pay up much more for all their antics afterward.
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