Rickia Young was driving home with her 2-year-old son and 16-year-old nephew on October 27 when she was suddenly attacked by a mob of Philadelphia police officers.
Rickia had taken a wrong turn during a time when the city was in turmoil. It had been only hours since police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black father of eight with a known history of mental illness, in West Philadelphia and protesters had taken to the streets.
The 28-year-old mother took a wrong turn down a one-way street and found herself in the middle of a protest when the horde of police swarmed her vehicle.
Cell phone video captured from a window above the mayhem, shows dozens of police officers hitting Rickia’s SUV with batons, smashing her windows, and dragging her and her nephew out of the car while beating them.
They took her 2-year-old son out of the car and took him away. Later the National Fraternal Order of Police would post a photo of a white, female officer holding the child on social media. The photo was captioned with a false story, saying they saved the child after finding him roaming the streets with no shoes.
Since the attack, five of the officers involved have been placed on restrictive duty. Internal Affairs says the investigation is ongoing.
Rickia told the Inquirer that she and her son are suffering from physical and mental trauma since the incident.
“He’s acts out. He bites his nails. He pulls his hair now. He never did those things before. He’s traumatized. He’s going through something,” Rickia said about her son.
More than a month after the police attack, Rickia Young is demanding the officers involved be fired.
“The police have not offered an explanation as to why they acted the way they did that night. They responded instead with a police investigation into Rickia,” says Kevin Mincey, Rickia Young’s attorney.