An emotionally disturbing video has been making the rounds on social media, particularly Facebook, of several police officers from the NYPD violently taking away a woman’s 18-month-old son.
An onlooker recorded and posted a video of the police officers already engaging with 24-year-old mother, Jazmine Headley, scrambling to hold onto her son.
Headley can be heard screaming:
“They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!”
The situation quickly intensified not only as the two officers moved around Headley, trying to pin her down, but then as one of the officers aggressively grabbed onto the boy’s arm and torso, pulling on him like they were in a terrible game of tug-of-war.
Some of the content may be disturbing to some, but you can watch the video here:
The situation continued to intensify, and the video content grows audibly louder, as more police officers circled around the woman, and as onlookers closed in.
It was unclear if the onlookers were trying to help Headley, or if they were simply observing from close-quarters, but one of the officers took out their stun gun and began pointing it at the nearby crowd.
At one point, it appears that the officer even pointed the stun gun at Headley’s forehead, but it’s somewhat unclear if the officer was actively pointing it at her, or if it was the perceived angle of the camera.
By the end of the video, Headley was escorted out of the room, and her son was nowhere in sight.
Headley had been waiting at the Brooklyn District benefits office, and was sitting on the floor with her son. A security guard was upset about the two of them sitting there, and when Headley refused to move, the resulting altercation took place.
Headley at the time was arrested and placed in jail for four days. Her resulting Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez assisted in dropping all charges, which consisted of obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespassing and endangering the welfare of a child.
The two officers were suspended at that time for 30 days without pay, but it was months before anything more came of resolving the situation.
The video was posted in December 2018, and her attorney was appalled at its contents and what Headley and her son had experienced and believed it could have been handled differently.
In February 2019, Headley appeared in court to testify about the events that had occurred at the benefits office. At the time, the city council offered her a public apology and also moved to pass legislation to improve public conditions at all benefits offices, including full information transparency and customer care.
The following August, Headley sued the city on the grounds that her child had sustained physical, mental, and other additional injuries. Headley also felt defamed, stating that her name would always be associated with this event.
According to Gonzalez, Headley insisted:
“This incident was not just about her, but about the dignity of every young woman of color raising her family with immense love and hard work, in a difficult world.”
As of this past Friday, the Law Department said the city would finally move to pay to resolve Headley’s lawsuit.
Headley’s lawyers, Katherine Rosenfeld and Emma Freeman, said:
“Through her intelligence, bravery, and grace, Jazmine Headley turned the worst ordeal of her life – and of any parent’s – into an opportunity for change for the entire city.”
Countless onlookers have taken to social media to share their feelings about the initial video, and about the city’s resolution for the incident.
How was going to get more chairs not an option but instead calling 911 because a mother in need of food assistance sat on the floor while waiting? Why is NYPD not trained to de-escalate?
— KD (@Fly_Sistah) December 10, 2018
for sitting on the floor where there were no available chairs, and ticking off the security guard. 🙄😳 What mother wouldn’t cling to her baby? What *is* this?
— Lisa (@belovedofhannah) December 10, 2018
I think people often fail to think about the fact that in these situations, people are SCARED. Your adrenaline kicks in and your instinct is to fight. Strangers were trying to rip her baby from her arms for no good reason. Wouldn't you fight?
— V (@Veronica_iLse) December 10, 2018
That man yanking on the one year old baby should be jailed for assault and battery. Whatever the mother was doing, she wasn't hurting anyone, no one was in danger. Until the police and security ramped up.
— sundaygirl (@aimeegtc) December 10, 2018
Traumatizing the vulnerable when we should protect them first.
— Jenn Thomas (@upstatetexicana) December 10, 2018
I started crying watching this, omg, wth is wrong with people that poor child might have been seriously hurt over a mother’s frustrated mood of waiting & taking a seat on the floor. Someone with intelligence couldn’t understand this poor mothers frustration & HELP her 💔 So Sad
— Lynn (@bluffers_parks) December 10, 2018
this is just cops being impatient. She wasnt a danger just an annoyance and instead of taking the time to talk it out its "she failed to comply" so let's throw a woman holding an infant to the ground. That seems reasonable. If this is how cops are gonna act we dont need them.
— A (@FattSkeleton) December 10, 2018
The situation took a long time to be resolved and how the woman and her child were handled, especially tugging on the child, arguably shouldn’t have happened.
As Headley’s lawyers insisted, and as many of the onlookers have commented on social media, this situation serves as an example of how people may be mistreated in benefits offices and elsewhere, and it should not only be questioned but improved.