The cops' attack caused injuries to the woman, her baby, and her nephew. The mother was also separated from the baby.
Trigger warning: Police brutality, race-motivated violence
When the cops posted an image of a White Philadelphia police officer comforting a young Black child, many thanked the cops and characterized the kid's caregivers who "abandoned" the child at a protest as "irresponsible." The post did wonders for the cops in a short amount of time as it went viral and contrasted the image that ACAB (All cops are b*stards). The police force in America has been under fire (metaphorically), unlike many African Americans, who have been literally killed by cops in recent months—including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Walter Wallace Jr. Later, it emerged the cops had reportedly attacked a car at the protest, broke the window, stole the baby, and had a White officer pose with the baby for PR, reported Slate. The incident occurred during a protest organized against the killing of a Black man, Walter Wallace Jr. His family alleged Wallace Jr. was having a mental health crisis when police arrived on the scene. The Black child's mother, Rickia Young, wasn't even protesting and had only been driving through the area.
.@GLFOP has now deleted their propaganda posts on Facebook and Twitter, but offered a tremendously valuable lesson in why you always need to treat initial police narratives with intense skepticism. pic.twitter.com/hxOLbu36KH— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 29, 2020
It was the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, that had posted the image on Twitter. The image was posted with the caption: “This lost child was wandering around barefoot during the violent riots in Philadelphia. The only thing this Philly police officer cared about was protecting this child. We are not your enemy. We are the Thin Blue Line. WE ARE the only thing standing between Order and Anarchy.” It furthered the image that it was the protesters who were causing mayhem while the cops were benevolent protectors. The cops had also posted the same image and caption to their Facebook account.
Can now say definitively that this post is a lie. This child wasn’t “wandering around barefoot,” he was grabbed from the back of an SUV after Philly cops smashed the vehicle’s windows and seized the driver. https://t.co/Shscl3t3zo— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 29, 2020
The child's mother's account is drastically different from that of the Fraternal Order of Police. The young boy’s family lawyer, Kevin Mincey, contested the veracity of the image as well as the events that led up to it. The family's lawyer claimed the family was driving a short distance away from where Wallace Jr. had been shot. Since the shooting had happened that morning, the protests were spontaneous with the word still getting around. Mincey said the photo posted was deceiving and accused the cops of attacking the child's mother and stealing the baby.
Rickia Young, a 28-year-old home health aide, had borrowed her sister’s car and was driving across town to West Philadelphia along with her 2-year-old son. They were going to pick up her teenage nephew from a friend’s house. As she was driving back to her home along with her 16-year-old nephew and turning onto Chestnut Street, she reached the destination of the protests and found cops and protesters clashing. She found herself driving towards a group of police officers. Before she could make a three-point turn, Philadelphia officers surrounded her vehicle and started attacking her vehicle. They smashed her windows and pulled out her nephew as well as her 2-year-old baby.
1/ This post by @GLFOP is a lie. My firm @MinceyFitzRoss represents this boy and his mother. This photo was taken moments after police attacked their vehicle, busted out the windows, ripped the mother from her car and assaulted her. pic.twitter.com/6dmDfoBe2B— Riley H. Ross III (@AttorneyRoss) October 30, 2020
The cops got their photo-op with the kids before handing them back. The young mother's lawyer states that both the nephew and the baby suffered injuries from the attack. The cops took down the Facebook and Twitter post after the story came to light. Rickia Young's version was also backed up by a video showing the 28-year-old mother trying to turn the car around before a group of police officers surrounding the car and attacking them. Her lawyer said the mother was injured and had to be taken to the hospital before being taken to the hospital. “She wasn’t out looting or out doing anything. She wasn’t even charged with a crime,” said Mincey. The 28-year-old was separated from her children before the boy's grandmother found them.