Woman beaten by police and separated from hard of hearing toddler wins $2 million
The woman said she will "never forget" how officers treated the family.
A healthcare worker in the US who was pulled from a car, beaten and had her toddler used for social media attention by police has won $2 million.
The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been ordered pay $2 million to nursing aide Rickia Young over the incident, which the city's mayor called "inexcusable."
Young, a black woman, had unknowingly driven into a protest against police brutality in the early hours of October 27, 2020, following the killing of a 27-year-old black man, Walter Wallace Jr, by Philadelphia officers the day prior.
Once she realised what was happening, she tried to make a three-point turn to get herself, her 2-year-old son and her teenage nephew away from the tense scene. But her attorneys say officers then smashed out her windows with their batons, dragged her and her nephew out of the car, beat them both in the street and handcuffed her, separating her from her young son for hours.
Social media footage captured the incident, during which her son, who is hard of hearing, lost his hearing aids.
Two days later, the Fraternal Order of Police, the US's largest police labor union, used a picture of the toddler in a Facebook post, falsely claiming he was found wandering lost in the midst of the protests.
"This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness," the union captioned the photo, showing Young's son in the arms of a Philadelphia police officer just after the incident. "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."
The post was later deleted.
"For them to portray me as the type of mom who wouldn't know or care where her child was while chaos was happening... all of it was very hurtful," Young said.
Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, called police's treatment of her and the boys "absolutely appalling" and "inexcusable."
"This terrible incident, which should have never happened to anyone, only further strained the relationship between the police and community," he said in a statement.
"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."
An officer and a sergeant have since been fired from Philadelphia police in relation to the incident, according to NBC News. Fourteen others are awaiting disciplinary hearings.
In a statement, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said: “The behavior that occurred during the interaction between Rickia Young, her nephew, her son, and some of the officers on the scene violated the mission of the Philadelphia Police Department."
"As a matter of fact, the ability for officers and supervisors on the scene to diffuse the situation was abandoned, and instead of fighting crime and the fear of crime, some of the officers on the scene created an environment that terrorised Rickia Young, her family, and other members of the public."
Young has said she will "never forget what officers did" to them that night.