Woman speaks out after fired Philadelphia officer is charged with assault during unrest in 2020

A Philadelphia police officer who was fired amid accusations that he beat a woman in front of her toddler during unrest in 2020 is now facing charges in the incident, according to the District Attorney’s office. 

The incident occurred in Oct. 2020, during demonstrations in the days after Philadelphia police officers fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. 

Officer Darren Kardos was suspended and later fired in relation to the encounter that left Rickia Young battered and bruised. 

On Thursday, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that Kardos has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment, and criminal mischief.

"I’ve been trying to take it all in and be grateful and happy that justice was served," an emotional Rakia Young stated, speaking with the media in a Zoom conversation. "I have to live with, the rest of my life, that the people who are supposed to serve and protect us, really don’t serve and protect us."

Young says she put her 2-year-old in the car went to pick up her teenage nephew from the area after he called her.

Around 1:45 a.m. Oct. 26, 2020, Young says she was on her way home with her nephew and son when she found herself in her vehicle driving into the fray as police clashed with demonstrators in West Philadelphia. 

Police told her to turn around. However, as she attempted a K-turn, video shows, officers swarmed her car, broke windows and injured her and her nephew as they pulled them from the vehicle. 

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner stated during a Thursday afternoon press conference that Kardos was accused of pulling young out of the car by her hair. Once out of the vehicle, Krasner says she was struck by fists, batons, and a number of unknown objects. She was also maced.

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Krasner says Kardos made claims about Young’s actions that "were not corroborated by video evidence."

Young spent the next few hours after the alleged assault at police headquarters and at a hospital. She was bruised and bleeding from the head. She asked her mother to try to find her child, who had been pulled from the vehicle by police. The grandmother finally found him in a police cruiser, with a welt on his head and glass in his car seat, Young’s attorney Kevin Mincey said. 

A short time after the encounter, the National Fraternal Order of Police posted a picture of the small boy in the arms of a female police officer after his mother was detained, saying he had been found wandering around barefoot during the protests. The post was soon taken down.

National FOP spokesperson Jessica Cahill said the post was taken down when it "subsequently learned of conflicting accounts of the circumstances."

Krasner called the post ‘shameful and despicable’ during Thursday's press conference.

"As a parent, I got to be strong for my child, regardless of how I feel. When I see a cop, to this day, behind me, in a car, beside me, I freak out. I get nervous, I get scared," Young elaborated.

"What you did to me, in front of my son, was not acceptable and I’m happy that it was recorded to show your true colors and how you feel about people, let alone a woman. You could have talked to me, you didn’t have to do what you did to me," Young said, speaking out to Kardos.

Less than a year after the incident, Young reached a $2 million settlement with the city. Her lawyers also announced a lawsuit against the National FOP over the photo of her son. In a press conference announcing the settlement, Young’s attorneys called for the officers involved to be charged. 

"Our physical injuries may heal, but the pain of seeing those images of my son in the arms of an officer and that horrible caption written to describe that picture may never heal," Young said during a press conference in Sept. 2021.