Last year, amid the unrest in Philadelphia following the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr., Rickia Young, a young Black mother, was ripped from her SUV alongside her 16-year-old nephew and beaten.
Now, the city of Philadelphia has reached a $2 million settlement with Ms. Young and serves as an appalling note of the continued brutality that Black people face routinely by the police.
“I will not forget what those officers did to us that night,” Young said at a news conference last Tuesday. “I hope that the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like this to another person ever again.”
Young was driving home last October and when protesters surrounded her vehicle, a pack of Philadelphia police officers “suddenly and without warning,” according to her lawyers, descended on her car and yanked both Young and her nephew into the street and beat them. Significant injuries were caused and while the police tried to dismiss the incident, video of the encounter was recorded from a building down the street and went viral.
Young was taken to a hospital and separated from her 2-year-old son, who was in the back seat of the SUV throughout the duration of the confrontation.
Soon after, a social media post featuring a Philadelphia officer comforting Young’s son in her absence amplified the story, yet also boosted an inaccurate pro-police stance as it was shared by the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the caption on the since-deleted post read. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about at that moment was protecting this child.”
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Young and her lawyers are planning to sue the National Fraternal Order of Police for $50,000 in damages in a new suit. Her attorneys said Young has endured harassment, anxiety, depression, and a damaged reputation as a result of the social media post.
“For them to portray me as the type of mom who wouldn’t know or care where her child was while chaos was happening all around is very hurtful,” Young said during the news conference.
The National Fraternal Order of Police didn’t immediately offer a rebuttal to the comments, but in a statement to USA Today, the group blamed the caption on “conflicting accounts of the circumstances under which the child came to be assisted by the officer.”
According to the New York Times, two officers were fired after a review of the incident; 14 others are awaiting disciplinary hearings.