On Monday, the city of Philadelphia announced that they had reached an agreement to pay $2 million to Rickia Young, a 29-year-old Black woman who was pulled from her car and brutally assaulted by law enforcement officers in October 2020.
Young was driving home from her job as a nursing aide when she unknowingly drove into a protest over the fatal police shooting of a young Black man named Walter White Jr. in West Philadelphia the previous night. When Young tried to drive away from the conflict, police officers surrounded her vehicle, smashed her windows with their batons, and proceeded to beat her and her teenage nephew while they were on the ground. Philadephia police then handcuffed Young and separated her from her teenage nephew and her hearing-impaired 2-year-old son for several hours, but did not cite or charge either Young or her nephew.
On top of that truly horrific incident, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest organization of police officers in the U.S., posted a Facebook photo of Young’s child in the arms of a Philadelphia police officer just after the assault on his mother 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 union said on Facebook. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
How deeply cruel, to use a photo of a Black child being unwillingly held by a cop moments after seeing his mother get assaulted by that cop and their colleagues as an attempt to condemn other Black people for rightfully protesting the murder of a young Black man in yet another instance of racist police violence. Police violence is far more than just a threat to physical safety—it is both a public health issue and a reproductive justice issue that Black parents cannot bring children into this world without fearing that they or their child will be harmed or even killed at the hands of law enforcement.