A police union claims that Philadelphia officials rescued a child “lost during the violent riots” only to remove a statement made by critics on Friday as “propaganda”.
A video recorded early Tuesday filmed Philadelphia police around a jeep that appeared to be moving away from a protest before smashing windows and forcibly removing a woman and baby from a car.
The woman’s lawyer says that her baby appeared in the photo of the police union.
The collision took place in block 5200 on Chestnut Street, when the sports vehicle could be seen moving towards a large gathering of officers and demonstrators protesting against the police murder of Walter Wallace Jr.
The driver, 28-year-old nurse Ricky Young̵
“This is a situation where we think the police were just out of control and attacked her car without any provocation,” Fitzpatrick told NBC News on Friday.
The incident is currently being investigated by the department’s home affairs department, and one officer is on “limited duty pending the outcome of the investigation,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Daniel Outlaw told reporters on Friday.
“I still don’t know all the details, but I’ll tell you, after watching the video, what I saw was quite worrying,” Outlaw added. “But I’m very careful about what I say, because I don’t know all the circumstances around him as far as what led to it.”
Fitzpatrick said Young was handcuffed and separated from her 16-year-old nephew and 2-year-old son for several hours, and no one was charged or quoted.
The young child with hearing impairment lost his hearing aids during the fight, and police have not yet returned the car to Young until Friday morning, Fitzpatrick added.
The Brotherhood of Police, the country’s largest police union, posted a photo on Facebook early Thursday morning showing Young’s 2-year-old child in the arms of a Philadelphia police officer shortly after the incident.
“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” the union said on Facebook. “The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about at the time was to protect this child.”
Fitzpatrick called the publication “propaganda” and said the child was not harmed until police stopped the SUV from leaving. The union’s post was later deleted, but could still be found via Google’s web cache.
“It was a child who was well secured in the back seat and then the police started beating the vehicle,” Fitzpatrick said.
In a statement Friday, the National Brotherhood of Police acknowledged that it had “published a photo of a Philadelphia police officer carrying a small child” and described the circumstances as “a scene of civil unrest.”
“Subsequently, the National FOP learned of the conflicting accounts of the circumstances in which the child came to be assisted by the employee, and immediately removed the photo and the caption,” the union statement continued.
Philadelphia City Council woman Jamie Gauthier, who represents the neighborhood where the incident took place, condemned the police action and the union’s original statement.
“This child was probably traumatized and the incident was used as propaganda by the national FOP,” Gauthier said in a statement to NBC News. “The whole situation is downright appalling.”
Councilor Gauthier said the officers were out of order.
“What we saw in this video was very disturbing,” Gauthier said. “I can’t imagine any scenario in which this answer is appropriate.”
Ali Gostanyan contributed.