Nursing aide Rickia Young, 29, was driving her 2-year-old son and 16-year-old nephew in West Philadelphia in the early morning hours of October 27, 2020 when she found her vehicle in the middle of a protest. She was in the area to pick up her nephew.
Crowds had gathered to protest the killing of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., by police the day before. She tried to turn her SUV around, but before she could leave, about two dozen police officers smashed the car windows with batons and dragged her and her nephew out of the car, and beat them.
A bystander recorded a video of the violence on their phone. Her little boy was separated from Young for several hours. She reunited with him miles away in Center City, where he was in a cruiser with officers.
Philadelphia settled with Young for $2 million before she filed a lawsuit. According to her attorneys, it is the largest pre-trial settlement for a police brutality case. It is not sufficient, however. Young and her lawyers want the police involved charged criminally.
Beaten in Front of Her Child
Young and her nephew received a severe beating. Her toddler witnessed the entire incident. Young suffered bruising and a bloodied face. She would also experience serious emotional distress in the aftermath, according to her lawyer.
The toddler was seen in a photo being held by a police officer shortly after his mother’s arrest in a now-deleted post shared by the national Fraternal Order of Police. The social media post stated that the boy was lost during the riots, “wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness.” The post ended by stating that The Thin Blue Line was the only thing standing between order and anarchy.
Young was released a few hours later, with no charges filed. She has since filed a lawsuit against the Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police labor union, seeking damages for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress.
Effect on the Toddler
The young boy was traumatized by the event. According to Young’s lawyer, he is now scared of loud noises, the dark, and especially police officers. He has become easily startled.
In addition, the hearing-impaired child lost his hearing aids while not in the custody of his mother.
Two Veteran Officers Fired
Two veteran officers were fired in the wake of the beating. Sgt. David Chisholm, who worked in the 26th Police District and had been on the force for 13-years, lost his job for violating departmental policies. Besides use of force, these violations included “inappropriate communications or conduct while on duty” as well as lying or trying to deceive during a departmental investigation.
Seven-year veteran police Officer Darren Kardos of the 19th Police District was terminated for excessive use of force and physical abuse with a baton.
Fourteen other officers are currently awaiting disciplinary proceedings via the police department’s Board of Inquiry.
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