Black toddler taken, mother beaten by police during Philadelphia protests
A Black mother in Philadelphia is claiming that police beat her and then used her young son for PR
A Black mother is claiming that the Philadelphia police beat her, took her toddler from her during the recent protests, and then used the boy for propaganda.
The National Fraternal Order of Police posted a picture of an officer holding a Black child close to her chest on Thursday following days of unrest after Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by police. The post claimed that police had rescued the child on the street in the chaotic aftermath of protests.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the union claimed in a tweet and Facebook post that have since been deleted. “The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
However, the boy’s family says that the narrative is false. In fact, their attorney has insists that police “ripped the mother from her car and assaulted her.”
“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.”
Ross and colleague Kevin Mincey are now representing the boy’s mother, Rickia Young, in a civil rights lawsuit. Mincey said the 28-year-old mother and home health aide worker had borrowed her sister’s SUV on Tuesday to pick up her nephew and was returning home about 2 a.m. on Tuesday night. Her two-year-old son was in the backseat when a line of police swarmed her car demanding she turn around.
The incident was recorded by neighborhood resident Aapril Rice and went viral, showing officers dragging Young and her nephew out of the car, throwing them to the ground, and beating Young with a baton. Young’s face was bruised and bleeding which necessitated medical care. After receiving treatment, she was then taken into custody and charged.
“Her face was bloodied and she looked like she had been beaten by a bunch of people on the street,” Ross told The Post. “She is still in pain.”
Mincey added that Young phoned her mother while she was in custody and looking for her son. The boy was eventually found hours later, in the back of a police car.
Once the boy was found, there was still glass from the broken SUV windows in his car seat, according to the Post.
Young was released from police custody the following day.
“She wasn’t out looting or out doing anything,” Mincey said. “She wasn’t even charged with a crime.”
The boy suffered a bump to the head in the encounter with police and was treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and released.
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that the Fraternal Order of Police used the child in their social media posts. The FOP deleted the post and released a brief statement this afternoon saying that the circumstances in which the boy was taken came from ‘conflicting accounts’ and that they immediately took down the post once they found that out.
As of Wednesday night, Philadelphia police chief Danielle Outlaw says the department has opened an internal affairs investigation in the beating, according to the Inquirer.
Pennsylvania is a swing state and President Donald Trump has insisted on “law and order” against the backdrop of protests. The National Guard has been deployed to the city in the wake of the unrest after Wallace’s death. This is the second time this year they have been called to the city to quell protests and prevent looting.
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