Philly Cops Beat A Woman And Stole Her Kid For An Insipid Photo-Op — Now She Gets $2 Million
One night last October, Rickia Young was driving home through West Philadelphia with her 16-year-old nephew and her two-year-old son, whom she had brought with her in hopes that the car ride would put him to sleep. On the way home, she encountered public protests against the police killing of Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man with mental health issues, and tried to turn around and go another way. Neither that plan nor the plan to help her baby get to sleep would work, because police officers immediately surrounded her SUV, bashing it with batons, smashing her windows, and screaming "Get the fuck out of the car!" at the tops of their lungs.
They then beat the living shit out of Young and her 16-year-old nephew, stole her two-year-old, threatened to have him sent children's services, and for a grand finale had a doe-eyed cop pose for a picture with him, for later use as a copaganda Facebook post from the National Fraternal Order of Police all about how wonderful and selfless the Philadelphia police are.
This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness. The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.
We are not your enemy. We are the Thin Blue Line. And WE ARE the only thing standing between Order and Anarchy.
Both she and her child have been severely traumatized by the incident, and now the city is paying her $2 million as part of a settlement. She certainly deserves it.
"She's still dealing with the trauma, even though it's been almost a year," Young's attorney, Kevin Mincey, told ABC News. "She's still dealing with that, and she's dealing with the trauma being exhibited by her son as well." [...]
"I will never forget what those officers did to us that night," Young said in a press conference on Tuesday. "I hope that the officers responsible will never have the chance to do something like this to another person ever again."
Young suffered from swelling on her face and body, as well as a swollen trachea, according to her attorneys. The beating was caught on a cellphone camera and went viral online. [...]
Two officers have been terminated in connection with the incident, according to the office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. There are also 14 members in the department awaiting disciplinary hearings as a result of an internal investigation into the incident.
Philadelphia police have never even attempted to justify or explain their actions that night, which they normally do. They normally at least make up some kind of story about how they were frightened for their lives, how they thought the person they assaulted was someone else. But they didn't, which sure does make it look like these cops were just enraged by the protests over another horrific police shooting and decided to take that out, violently, on a random Black woman, teenager, and toddler who were just trying to get home.
It's good that Young is getting this money, it's good that some of the officers involved have been terminated and that others are being investigated. It's good that perhaps they are learning that no, they can't just bludgeon and kill people in peace without any consequences for their actions.
That being said, it would have been a whole lot nicer if it came out of the police's $727 million budget. That's not defunding the police, that's making them pay their own debts. Given that this is not the case, Philadelphia police should be writing a very nice thank you letter expressing their gratitude to the Philadelphia taxpayers who are now footing the bill for their crimes. That's money that could have been used for something that would have benefited them, but it's now going to pay for the fact that these officers simply could not stop themselves from beating up a woman and a teenager and stealing a toddler.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse