The city of Philadelphia will pay $2 million to Rickia Young, a Black woman who was pulled from her car then beaten by officers after she unknowingly drove into a protest over the police shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. City officials made a statement on Monday announcing the settlement.
From NBC News:
Nursing aide Rickia Young was headed home in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2020, when she unknowingly drove into a large protest over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr.
She tried to make a three-point turn to get away from the tense scene when officers smashed out her windows with their batons, according to her attorneys.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called the treatment of Young “absolutely appalling” and “inexcusable.”
“This terrible incident, which should have never happened to anyone, only further strained the relationship between the” police and community, Kenney said in a statement.
Last year, The Root reported on the viral video that showed the 29-year-old Black mother being yanked out of her SUV and attacked by officers before she was placed in the back of a police wagon, separated from her toddler son and teenage nephew. Both she and her nephew were beaten, but neither were charged. NBC also notes that her hearing-impaired toddler lost his hearing aids during the incident.
The National Fraternal Order of Police posted a photo of her young son in the arms of an officer on Facebook with the caption: “This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness. The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
The group took the photo down hours later, according to the Philadephia Inquirer, saying in a statement that there were “conflicting accounts” about how the child ended up with the officer. The toddler’s grandmother retrieved him from officers miles away from where they took him.
From the Inquirer:
Young’s attorneys called on District Attorney Larry Krasner to file criminal charges against the officers involved. Krasner said Monday he couldn’t confirm a criminal investigation. He said that, in general, investigating police behavior during chaotic incidents “presents a challenge in terms of locating body-worn cameras for the individuals involved.”
“When you have a situation that is somewhat fluid on the street,” he said, “it is more difficult to reconstruct exactly what officer was where, when.”
The Inquirer also reports that both an officer and sergeant were fired in May and another 15 officers are currently awaiting disciplinary proceedings.
Here’s a statement from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on the settlement:
“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.”
Young filed a lawsuit against the National Fraternal Order of Police last week, seeking damages for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress.