Philadelphia agreed to pay a woman $ 2 million after officials smashed the windows of her vehicle, ripped her out of the car and attacked herin front of her toddler last fall, lawyers said on Tuesday.
However, Rickia Young’s attorney, 29, said they are still calling for criminal charges against the officers, some of whom were later fired, andsued the national Fraternal Order of Police over a since-deleted social media post showing Young’s son that attorney Riley Ross called “propaganda”.
“I will never forget what these officials did to us that night,” Young said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I hope that the officers responsible never again have the chance to do something like this to another person.”
In October, Young was driving her 2-year-old son and 16-year-old nephew home when she asked for mental health help from 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr just hours after police. Police had cordoned off the street and Young tried to turn around but stopped to avoid meeting the protesters.
Officers in riot gear and swinging batons smashed their windowspulled Young and her nephew out of the vehicle and hit them, causing “significant injuries,” Ross said.
Young was separated from her son for hours and taken to the hospital, her lawyers said.
After Young was taken into custody, Ross said the fraternal Police Order shared a photo on Facebook of an officer holding her son with a caption claiming the child walked around alone during the protests.
“This child was lost during the Philadelphia riot while walking barefoot in an area where utter lawlessness prevailed,” the union said in the Post, according to screenshots shared by Ross and the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The only thing that Philadelphia cop cared about right now was protecting this kid.”
Lawyers:The police union used the photo of a black toddler in the Philadelphia riots as “propaganda”
The national FOP said in a statement to USA TODAY at the time that it had dismissed the post after learning of “conflicting reports about the circumstances under which the child was assisted by the officer.”
But Ross said the post caused additional emotional damage as well was “created to spread a false narrative”.
“They are trying to erase what happened – police brutality – and turn it into police rescue instead,” Ross said. “It’s another deep wound that you cut.”
The local chapter of the FOP, which the New York Times reported as representing officials, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, in May, two officials involved in the incident were fired after an internal investigation into the attack, spokeswoman Tanya Little told USA TODAY. The investigation found that Officer Darren Kardos violated the department’s guidelines on excessive violence and damage to private property, and Sgt. David Chisholm violated the guidelines on inappropriate language, behavior or use of force, and lying during an investigation said Little.
14 officers are currently awaiting disciplinary hearings based on the outcome of internal affairs, Little said.
The officers are not threatened with criminal charges. Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office, said she was “unable to confirm or comment on any possible criminal investigation into the incident at this time.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement that the actions of some of the officers “violated the mission of the Philadelphia Police Department.”
“Indeed, the ability of local officials and supervisors to defuse the situation has been abandoned, and instead of fighting crime and fear of crime, some of the local officials have created an environment that terrorized Rickia Young, her, family and friends other members of the public, “Outlaw continued.
Mayor Jim Kenney said the incident was “absolutely appalling” and added a strain on the relationship between the police and the community in a statement.
“The officials’ inexcusable actions that evening resulted in an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident and discipline and responsibility for their outrageous behavior,” he said. “I hope the settlement and investigation into the actions of officers Ms. Young and her family will bring some degree of closure.”
Young’s child says “just as early as yesterday morning that he’s scared of the police,” said Ross. He added that as a result of the incident, Young suffered not only from back and neck pain, but also from “the emotional pain that comes with nightmares, the inability to sleep, the depression.”
Young and her lawyers say the family will not be able to complete the process until the lawsuit with the FOP is resolved.
“I want them to be held accountable,” said Young. “Our physical injuries may heal, but the pain of seeing these pictures of my son in an officer’s arms and that horrific caption written to describe this picture may never heal.”