An attorney for the boy’s mother called out the cops on their lie and said the little boy is now “terrified because of what the police did.”
PHILADELPHIA — The photo shows a white female cop looking off to the side as she holds a little Black boy, still young enough to be wearing a diaper, in her arms.
“This child was lost during the riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the National Fraternal Order of Police wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday, which has since been deleted. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”
But the police union’s portrayal of events couldn’t be further from the truth, said attorney Riley Ross III, who is representing the little boy’s family.
The photo was taken just moments after more than a dozen police officers swarmed the SUV the little boy’s mother was driving, smashed the windows, “ripped the mother from her car and assaulted her,” Ross said on Twitter. A bystander captured the attack on video and posted it to social media.
Ross called the union’s post “propaganda.”
“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,” Ross told The Washington Post. “That little boy is terrified because of what the police did.”
Ross and his law partner Kevin Mincey are representing the little boy’s mother, Rickia Young, in a civil rights lawsuit stemming from the police attack that happened during the first night of protests over the death of Walter Wallace Jr.
RELATED: Walter Wallace Jr.’s Parents Called for Medical Help. Police Showed Up Instead and Killed Him.
National FOP spokesperson Jessica Cahill said the FOP took the post down when it “subsequently learned of conflicting accounts of the circumstances.” She did not immediately say where the FOP got the initial information.
Mincey told The Washington Post that Young had driven her sister’s car to pick up her 16-year-old nephew from a friend’s house in West Philadelphia. She was on her way home at about 1:45 a.m., when she encountered a line of police officers who told her to turn around. As she attempted a K-turn, more than a dozen officers swarmed her vehicle.
Aapril Rice, who lives in the neighborhood where the attack happened, recorded the video from her roof. She told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the attack was “surreal.”
In the video, officers use clubs to smash the SUV’s windows, drag Young and her nephew out of the vehicle and throw them to the ground, and then grab the toddler from the backseat.
That last action, Rice said, was “the most traumatic part for me.”
Mincey told the Post that Young had to go to a hospital for treatment immediately after the attack because her head was bleeding and most of her left side was badly bruised from being thrown to the ground. Police detained Young, keeping her separated from her toddler, for several hours.
Mincey said Young was able to call her mother from police custody and ask her to find the boy.
The toddler’s grandmother found him after several hours, Mincey said. He was sitting in his car seat in the backseat of a police cruiser with two officers in the front seats. The boy had a welt on his head and glass from the SUV’s broken windows still littered the car seat, Mincey said.
Police released Young, without filing charges, sometime after the sun came up. A bracelet put on Young’s arm at police headquarters suggested she was detained for allegedly assaulting police, Mincey said.
Mincey said he is not surprised by what police did to Young.
“This is how they respond,” Mincey said of police. “Really, it’s just a continuation of what we’ve seen this summer—violence, intimidation, and them trying to assert their will by force over people who are lawfully on the streets.”
“The problem now is all the eyes trained on it,” the lawyer said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.