United Kingdom

Police union is accused of using a photo of a cop holding a black toddler as 'propaganda'

Attorneys have alleged that the Fraternal Order of Police used a photo of a black toddler and a Philadelphia police officer as 'propaganda,' blasting authorities' claims that they rescued the 'lost' child during chaotic protests as a 'total fabrication.' 

In fact, attorneys said that officers actually ripped the young boy from an SUV after smashing all of the vehicle's windows and injuring his mother in an aggressive arrest.

She was later released without charges and the Philadelphia Police Department's internal affairs unit launched an investigation into the concerning ordeal. 

'She wasn’t out looting or out doing anything,' Attorney Kevin Mincey told The Washington Post. 'She wasn’t even charged with a crime.'

The Fraternal Order of Police, the country's largest law enforcement union, shared the now-deleted photo to its social media pages on Thursday. 

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The Fraternal Order of Police shared this photo its social media pages on Thursday, but deleted it after the child's mother and lawyers claimed the premise was fabricated 

It showed a female Philadelphia officer holding a small two-year-old boy as he clung to her neck.

'This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,' the post claimed.

'The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.'

But according to attorney Riley H. Ross III, that version of events is unequivocally false.

'It's propaganda,' Ross III told WaPo, before further criticizing the union for allegedly weaponizing the photo to drum up public support amid a nationwide reckoning.

Walter Wallace Jr. (pictured) was killed on Monday during a police-involved shooting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

'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. That little boy is terrified because of what the police did,' said Ross.

Ross and Mincey represent the child's mother in a civil rights case that sparked the first night of protests in Philadelphia, where Walter Wallace Jr. was killed in a police-involved shooting. 

Wallace has become one of 804 black men to die in police-involved shootings this year, which also saw a wave of anti-police brutality protests during the summer.

WaPo reports that just after midnight on Tuesday, Rickia Young borrowed her sister's SUV and placed her son in the back seat.

Young, a 28-year-old home health aide, intended to drive towards West Philadelphia to pick up her 16-year-old nephew from a friend's house.

As Young drove back home with her son and nephew, she turned down Chestnut Street, where demonstrators and officers had collided in an instense confrontation. 

Waiting at the end of the Chestnut Street was a line of officers, who told Young to turn around and leave the area.  

Young responded by attempting to make a three-point turn, but this allegedly prompted a violent response from officers who were already on edge.

Police officers stand guard outside a police station after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who was shot by police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cell phone footage captured by a witness showed a swarm of Philadelphia officers surrounding Young's SUV and smashing out the windows 

Attorney's said that Philadelphia officers surrounded the SUV and smashed through all six windows before dragging both Young and her nephew out of the car.

Cell phone footage shows a swarm of officers, some carrying large shields and batons, surrounding the motionless vehicle before letting loose a barrage of strikes.

The viral video shows officers throwing the two older relatives onto the ground and grabbing the two-year-old from the back seat. 

Aapril Rice, a 30-year-old resident who captured the entire confrontation on her phone, told the Philadelphia Inquierer that watching officers take the child afterwards was 'the most traumatic part for me.'

Mincey told WaPo that Young was temporarily detained before being transported to a local hospital for treatment. 

Her head was bleeding from an open wound and the left side of her body was littered in brusies from when officers hurled her onto the concrete.

'Her face was bloodied and she looked like she had been beaten by a bunch of people on the street,' Mincey told WaPo. 'She is still in pain.'

Attorneys said that officers on Tuesday morning threw Rickia Young and her 16-year-old nephew out of the SUV before grabbing the toddler from the back seat

As a result of the arrest, Young suffered a bleeding head injury but was not charged with any criminal offenses

Young's nephew also reportedly suffered injuries from the incident and the toddler was hit on the head, leaving behind a large bump on his forehead. 

Mincey told WaPo that Young called the boy's grandmother while in police custody and asked her to find the child.

After several hours, the grandmother reportedly found the child sitting his car seat in the back of a Philadelphia police cruiser.

Mincey claimed that glass from the SUV's shattered windows was still embedded in the child's car seat.

It was Tuesday morning by the time Young was released from police custody without any charges, her lawyers told WaPo.

Family took the toddler to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment of his head injury. 

Mincey said that authorities have still not told Young where she can find the SUV or the belonging inside of it, which included her son's hearing aids. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported on the social media post, which the Fraternal Order of Police removed after they were was asked about it.

Much of the union's social media pages have become reminiscent of official White House accounts, with extensive and repeated endorsement of President Trump.

The photo's original post echoed Trump's controversial 'law and order' sentiment.

'We are not your enemy,' the post initially read. 'We are the Thin Blue Line. And WE ARE the only thing standing between Order and Anarchy.'

Mincey to WaPo: '[Rickia Young] wasn’t out looting or out doing anything. She wasn’t even charged with a crime'

On Monday afternoon, Wallace Jr. was shot dead by Philadelphia officers after he approached them with a knife.

The family of Wallace Jr., who suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the incident, said they called for an ambulance to help him with his mental health emergency - not police intervention.

Wallace's father, Walter Wallace Sr., revealed he was distraught by the way responding officers 'butchered' his son.

'It's in my mind. I can't even sleep at night. I can't even close my eyes.'

He further condemned the bouts of violence that have erupted in the city in recent days.  

Walter Wallace Jr. (left and righ) was killed in a police-involved shooting that happened Monday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Authorities revealed that police body camera footage of Walter Wallace Jr.'s shooting will be released next week 

A person is handcuffed and detained by police at 55th and Pine Street, Wednesday, October 28, in Philadelphia, after the citywide curfew had passed,

'They're not helping my family, they're showing disrespect. Stop this violence and chaos. People have businesses. We all got to eat. It's an SOS to help, not to hurt.'  

Police have arrested 172 people since Monday. Some 30 police officers sustained injuries.

On Wednesday night, authorities discovered a van with propane tanks, torches, and alleged dynamite sticks.

President Trump offered to send the National Guard to Philadelphia to quell protests, which pitted him against local Oregon and New York leaders this summer. 

'We’re watching it very closely and we’re waiting for a call. If they want help with there, we’ll be in there within one hour,' Trump said during a campaign stop in Arizona. 'We’re ready to go within one hour.'  

It was revealed on Friday that police body camera footage of the shooting would be released next week,

The Wallace family has said they will not pursue murder charges. 

Still, Wallace's family's lawyer, Shaka Johnson, says the footage clearly shows that the officers were 'improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job.'  

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