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Philadelphia woman pulled from car by police during protest to get 2M from city

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The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $2 million to a woman that police pulled from her car and beat with batons during an anti-police brutality protest in 2020.

Officials in the city said on Monday they reached a settlement with attorneys for Rickia Young, 29, who at the time was driving with her 2-year-old son and a teenage son of Young’s friend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The protest began on October 27, after police in the city killed a black man named Walter Wallace, 27, who was wielding a knife and refused to drop it when ordered by police to do so. His family contends that he was suffering a mental breakdown at the time.

“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 described the officers’ actions seen on a 37-second clip of the incident involving Young as “absolutely appalling” while saying it “further strained” the relationship between city cops and residents.

Young did not file suit against the city at the time, but did sue the Fraternal Order of Police for posting a photo of a Philadelphia cop holding her then-2-year-old son. She alleges that police and their union officials tried to paint the situation as some sort of touching rescue of her child, but that in actuality, her windows were smashed, she was beaten and her son traumatized by what he witnessed.

“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.”

The post was removed within hours after conflicting reports began to surface of the nature of the supposed rescue.

“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’s attorneys said she was not part of the protest. They say she happened to be driving around at 2am on the night in question when the protest devolved into chaos. Cops told her to leave and as she attempted a three-point turn, she was summarily yanked from her vehicle and beaten. Young suffered a gash on her head and bruising as a result of the incident.

A police officer and a sergeant were fired in May for their conduct and 15 other cops are awaiting disciplinary proceedings, the Inquirer reported. Her lawyers, 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,” said the outlet on Tuesday.

Krasner said that as a matter of course, 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.”

Her son was retrieved by Young’s mother from officers in a police cruiser several miles away. They say he was not with them for longer than an hour.

“I will never forget what those officers did to us that night,” Young told reporters. “I hope that the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like to another person ever again.”

“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 outlet reported.

The original news story with footage of the disturbing incident has resurfaced on Twitter:

Frank Webster

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