A Black woman who was separated from her toddler son during a violent arrest last year will receive $2 million from the city of Philadelphia.
During the October 2020 arrest, Rickia Young was bloodied then taken to jail, and separated from her son as the city dealt with escalating unrest following the fatal police-involved shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
“I hope the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like this to another person,” Young said at Tuesday, Sept. 14, press conference.
Her attorneys said the city has never paid out such a large settlement for a non-fatal incident, but that the situation is about more than money.
Young and her attorneys are calling for the officers involved in the arrest to be charged by the district attorney. “Our physical injuries may heal but the pain of seeing those images of my son in the arms of an officer and the horrible caption written to describe that picture may never heal,” Young said.
“They need to be held responsible.”
On Oct. 27, 2020, Young, 28, had her 2-year-old son with her when she picked up her 16-year-old nephew in West Philadelphia to get him out of the area as protests following Wallace’s death escalated.
After picking up the teen, Young drove up to police barricades at the scene of a confrontation between protesters and officers.
Directed to turn around, she was in the process of complying when officers surrounded her SUV and smashed the windows with batons, dragging Young and her nephew out of the vehicle.
Young was beaten and her face bloodied when officers told her they were taking her son to “a better place.”
Young was taken into custody and spent the night at the hospital and the police statio before being released the next morning with no charges filed against her. She had called her grandmother to pick up her son before she was taken to jail. The grandmother found him in the back seat of a patrol car at City Hall with two officers in the front seat. His hearing aids were missing and here were broken glass shards nearby.
“Aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault,” attorney Thomas Fitzpatrick said. “This was nothing more than an attack that would be perpetrated by any random street thug and they should be treated just the same.”
The toddler is now showing signs of being afraid of the police and fears loud noises stemming from the banging on the glass, attorneys sad.
The National Fraternal Order of Police posted a photo of an officer holding the boy last year, claiming officer had saved the child, but Young and her attorneys say her son’s image was used as propaganda. The post claimed they found the boy barefoot and abandoned running through “lawlessness” in the street. The post has since been removed.
“For them to portray me as this type of mom who didn’t care where her children was while chaos was happening all around was very hurtful,” Young said. She has also filed a suit against the National Fraternal Order of Police.
As a result of the incident, two officers were fired and 14 are awaiting disciplinary hearings. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said it can’t comment on a potential criminal investigation.
“We’re sorry,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “We hope you can recover from the trauma you went through and it will never happen again.”