Black mother to get $2m payout after she was beaten by police and separated from son during protest

A black woman is to receive a $2m (£1.45m) payout after she was dragged from her car, allegedly beaten by police officers, and separated from her hearing-impaired two-year-old son, officials say.

Rickia Young, who works as a nursing assistant, was driving home during the early hours of 27 October 2020 with her two-year-old son and teenage nephew in Philadelphia.

However, she unknowingly drove into the scene of a protest over the killing of Walter Wallace Jr by police, and quickly tried to make a three-point turn to get away.

Her lawyers claimed officers then smashed her windows with their batons before she was able to drive away.

Ms Young was then handcuffed and separated from her family members for hours, while her hearing-impaired son lost his hearing aids during the struggle.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney has since described the incident as “absolutely appalling”, before adding he hoped the payout by the city would bring “some measure of closure” to the family.

He said: “This terrible incident, which should have never happened to anyone, only further strained the relationship between the police and community.

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“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.”

The incident soon went viral when the Fraternal Order of Police, which is the nation’s largest police labour union, also posted a picture on Facebook two days after the incident.

The picture showed Ms Young’s toddler being carried a Philadelphia police officer.

The union added in the post, which has now been deleted, that the officer was trying to “protect the child”.

The post said: “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.”

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

Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the behaviour of the officers involved “violated the mission of the Philadelphia police department”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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