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Philadelphia to pay $2M to Black woman beaten by officers, separated from toddler during unrest

Officers smashed Rickia Young's windows with batons when she unknowingly drove into a protest. The union later claimed on social media that officers rescued her "lost" toddler.
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The city of Philadelphia will pay $2 million to a Black woman who was pulled from a car, beaten by officers and had her toddler used for social media fodder by the police union, officials said.

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.

Rickia Young
Rickia Young, 28, of North Philadelphia.Tyger Williams / The Philadelphia Inquirer

"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 was handcuffed and separated from her teenage nephew and 2-year-old son for several hours, and no one was ever charged or cited, according to the woman's lawyer. The hearing-impaired toddler lost his hearing aids during the tussle.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police labor union, posted a Facebook picture two days later showing Young's toddler in the arms of a Philadelphia police officer just after the incident.

"This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness," the union said on Facebook. "The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child."

That post was later taken down.

Two Philadelphia policemen, an officer and sergeant, have since been fired in connection to the treatment of Young, a city spokesperson said.

“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."

Representatives for both the national Fraternal Order of Police and FOP Lodge 5, which represents Philadelphia officers, did not immediately return messages seeking their comments on Tuesday.