Recorded on cellphone video pulling a mother out of her vehicle and smashing the windows with her toddler inside the backseat, several Philadelphia police officers are under investigation for appearing to assault an innocent woman and her family attempting to drive home during a recent protest. Attorneys representing the victim have confirmed she is filing a civil rights case against the police department.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Rickia Young was driving home with her 16-year-old nephew and two-year-old son when she became stuck in traffic at a police barricade during a protest against police brutality. In a cellphone video recorded by Aapril Rice, Young’s SUV can be seen attempting a three-point turn as multiple officers surrounded the pickup truck stopped in front of her.
Instead of allowing Young to leave the area, the officers suddenly began to smash her windows before pulling her out of the vehicle and beating her with a baton. Young and her nephew were thrown to the ground, as another officer removed her 2-year-old hearing impaired son from the backseat.
Young reportedly suffered a “bloody nose, a swollen trachea, blood in her urine, and swelling and pain on her left side,” while her child was treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for “a large welt on his head.” Although some protesters allegedly threw projectiles at the police officers during the protest, Young was clearly attempting to drive away from the officers in the video when they attacked her family.
On Thursday, the National Fraternal Order of Police posted a photo of Young’s son on Facebook and Twitter with the caption: “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.”
When confronted about the authenticity of the story told along with the photo, the police union immediately deleted the post from social media.
“It’s propaganda,” attorney Riley H. Ross III told The Washington Post. “Using this kid in a way to say, ‘This kid was in danger and the police were only there to save him,’ when the police actually caused the danger. That little boy is terrified because of what the police did.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw confirmed that the incident is under investigation by Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Department. At least one of the officers involved has been placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of the investigation.