Authorities in Philadelphia have announced the city has agreed to pay $2 million to Rickia Young, a Black woman who was beaten by police officers after she was dragged from her car. Her two-year-old toddler, who was with her at the time, was also used for a botched photo-op by the police union.
According to NBC News, Young was on her way home in the wee hours of October 27 last year when she accidentally drove into a large crowd of people who were protesting the killing of Walter Wallace Jr. The Black man had been fatally shot by Philadelphia police officers the day before. And the city erupted with violence and looting following the incident, Face2Face Africa reported at the time.
While Young was attempting to execute a three-point turn to leave the area, she was confronted by officers who used their batons to destroy her windows before dragging her out of her car, her attorneys said.
Responding to the settlement in a statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the officers’ conduct that day was “absolutely appalling” and “inexcusable.”
“This terrible incident, which should have never happened to anyone, only further strained the relationship between the police department and our communities,” Kenney added.
“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. I hope that the settlement and investigations into the officers’ actions bring some measure of closure to Ms. Young and her family.”
During the incident, the Black nursing aide, who was in the company of her teenage nephew and two-year-old son, was also handcuffed. Besides that, officers reportedly separated her from the two boys for several hours, and the hearing aids Young’s toddler was wearing also got lost as a result of the confrontation.
Two days after the incident, the country’s largest police labor union, The Fraternal Order of Police, also shared a Facebook photo of an officer holding Young’s son, claiming he got lost during the protests. The photo was later deleted.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the union captioned in the deleted photo, NBC News reported. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
Following the incident, an officer and a sergeant with the Philadelphia Police Department were reportedly fired for their involvement in Young’s treatment.
“The behavior that occurred during the interaction between Rickia Young, her nephew, her son, and some of the officers on the scene violated the mission of the Philadelphia Police Department,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Young’s attorneys are saying the settlement isn’t enough as they want all the officers involved in the incident to be fired and criminal charges brought against them. Young’s attorneys said there were over 12 officers involved in the confrontation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“The video to me is clear that more than two officers that were fired participated in the physical assault,” Young’s attorney, Kevin Mincey, said. “I can’t understand how those people would be allowed to continue to wear the uniform of the Philadelphia Police Department.”