The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $2 million to a mother who was pulled from her SUV and beaten by cops during an anti-police brutality protest.
City officials said Monday they reached an agreement with attorneys for Rickia Young, a 29-year-old North Philadelphia health care aide who was yanked out of her SUV along with her 2-year-old son and a friend’s teenage son, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Neither Young nor her friend’s son, whom she refers to as her nephew, were charged with a crime during the protests that erupted on Oct. 27, just hours after the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., 27, whose family said he was having a mental health crisis when the black man was fatally shot while holding a knife.
“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,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement.
Mayor Jim Kenney characterized the officers’ actions seen on a 37-second clip of the incident as “absolutely appalling” while saying it “further strained” the relationship between city cops and residents.
Young did not file a lawsuit against the city, but sued the national Fraternal Order of Police for posting a photo of a Philadelphia cop holding Young’s then-2-year-old son. Department officials could not determine who took the photo, the Inquirer reported.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the nation’s largest police union wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting the child.”
But the post, which attorneys for Young said was used to drum up support for cops, was removed within hours after the union learned of “conflicting accounts” of what appeared to be a touching moment.
Cops had actually smashed the windows of Young’s SUV as he was inside the vehicle, attorneys for the woman said.
“It’s propaganda,” an attorney for Young, Riley Ross III, said in October. “That little boy is terrified because of what the police did.”
Young, whose attorneys say was not a part of the protest, had a gash and bruising on her head after the stop. A police officer and a sergeant were fired in May for their conduct and 15 other cops are awaiting disciplinary proceedings, the Inquirer reported.
Attorneys for Young, however, want more than a dozen cops who were involved in the viral incident to be fired and prosecuted. District Attorney Larry Krasner wouldn’t confirm a criminal probe was underway, but said he hoped to provide an update “soon,” the newspaper reported Tuesday.
Young said at a press conference Tuesday she’s still dealing with trauma from the incident nearly a year later.
“I will never forget what those officers did to us that night,” she told reporters. “I hope that the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like to another person ever again.”
Young also blasted the national Fraternal Order of Police for portraying her as a mother who didn’t know what was happening to her son as “chaos” took over the city.
“Our physical injuries may heal, but the pain of seeing those images of my son in the arms of an officer and that horrible caption written to describe that picture may never heal. They need to be held responsible,” Young said.
Young’s lawsuit against the national FOP seeks damages for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress. The organization did not respond Monday to a request for comment, the Inquirer reported.