Renowned Philadelphia attorneys Kevin Mincey and Riley H. Ross III represent a 28-year-old housekeeper and her 2-year-old son who were injured early Tuesday morning when police pulled her – and her 16-year-old nephew – from one SUV on the 5200 block of Chestnut Street.
The incident, which involved more than 15 police officers, was captured on video and has gone viral on social media.
According to Mincey and Ross, Rickia Young, who lives near Temple University, was about to drive home after picking up her nephew when the incident occurred. A few hours earlier, police shot and killed a knife-wielding man, Walter Wallace Jr., who was in a mental crisis on 61st Street and Locust Street.
The videotaped incident went viral and sparked a riot as hundreds of people vandalized and pillaged the 52nd Street business district and across the city.
"She didn't do anything wrong," said Mincey. “She was driving down the street when she approached an area that was blocked by police. “When she tried to turn around, the car was flooded by several officers. They broke the windows of the vehicle, dragged her and her nephew out of the SUV, and began beating and kicking them with batons. The child was still sitting in his car seat. "
The lawyers said Young, who was bleeding from her injuries, was handcuffed and taken by a touring car to Police Headquarters on 7th Street and Race Street.
"There was another woman in the car with her," said Mincey. “She had a cell phone and allowed [Young] to use it. She called her mother who was looking for the child. Her mother was told by the police that the child was on the 15th [street] and on JFK [boulevard]. "
Mincey said the grandmother found the child in Center City on a car seat with broken glass.
He said Young was later taken to Jefferson Hospital, treated for her wounds, and taken back to police headquarters, where she was placed in a cell. She was released hours later without any charges being brought against her.
"She doesn't know when they released her," said Mincey. "All she knows is that the sun has risen, which would have been around 7 o'clock [in the morning]."
Mincey and Ross said the police did not know where the vehicle was. Young's wallet, which contained her ID, is also missing. The baby's hearing aids were also in the SUV.
The lawyers are also furious about a post from the National Fraternal Order of Police on Facebook and Twitter. In the mail, a Philadelphia police officer pinned the child with the caption, “This child was lost in the Philadelphia civil unrest and was wandering barefoot in an area where it was completely lawless. The only thing this Philadelphia cop cared about right now was protecting that kid. "
"That just wasn't the case," said Ross. "Your child was not lost."
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Friday that an officer featured in the "Using the Strikes Against the Car" video has been put on duty pending an investigation.
"I still don't know all of the details … what I saw was pretty worrying," said Outlaw. "But I'm very careful what I say because I don't know all the circumstances."
The lawyers are investigating the incident.
"I posted on my Twitter account that the National FOP Post was a lie," said Ross. "Some of the comments I received were negative, but I received a lot of positive comments.
“This police agency must be drastically reformed. There is no reason why our customer should be the victim here. She is a victim, her child is a victim, her nephew is a victim. It is terribly inappropriate and the police must choose it. "
Mincey wants the public to know what happened.
"I want you to know the truth," he said. "I don't want you to think that Rickia is a bad mother, that she is some kind of criminal or looter. I want you to know that she is not only a loving aunt, but also a caring mother and aunt, who drove to West Philly at 1am to pick up their teenage nephew because she knew it wasn't safe for him to go home alone.She did something that any of us, parents, uncles or aunts are would do for someone in his family. "