Woman whose baby was ripped from her arms by officers won't face charges
A mother who had her 1-year-old child snatched from her arms by officers at a Brooklyn social services office will not face charges stemming from that incident and will be released from Rikers Island, where she was being held on an unrelated warrant.
Jazmine Headley, 23, faced possible charges of resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, criminal trespass and obstructing governmental administration after peace officers were called to the Human Resources Administration in Brooklyn for a report of Headley "obstructing the hallway" and causing a disturbance.
Video filmed by an onlooker and posted Friday showed Headley on the floor on her back with several officers surrounding her as one tried to rip her child from her arms.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement that he was "horrified by the violence depicted in the video" and was dropping the case against Headley.
"The consequences this young and desperate mother has already suffered as a result of this arrest far outweigh any conduct that may have led to it," the district attorney said in a statement. "Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice."
Later on Tuesday, a judge ordered for Headley to be released, according to a tweet by Brooklyn Defender Services, a nonprofit that provides public defense for Brooklyn residents experiencing financial hardship and which had filed an application requesting that the court release Headley.
She is expected to return home Tuesday night, and has to appear in a Mercer County, New Jersey, court Wednesday morning on an unrelated case.
In July 2016, records show that Headley was arrested in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, for the alleged use of counterfeit credit cards.
She was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury in March 2017 on two counts of third-degree credit card theft and one count of fourth-degree trafficking in personal identifying information.
As of now, the charges still stand, although the Brooklyn Defender Services is calling for a Mercer County prosecutor to dismiss them.
The footage of the incident in New York City sparked backlash on social media and led to two peace officers being placed on leave, according to NBC station WNBC. The city's social services commissioner also said the officers will be put on modified duty when they return to work pending the outcome of the investigation, the outlet reports.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill previously said in a tweet that he found the video "disturbing." The woman who posted it on Facebook claimed Headley was sitting on the floor of the social services office with her child because all the seats were taken. The woman wrote that a security guard was called and things escalated after the police responded.
"NYPD cops have a very tough job," O'Neill tweeted. "We were called to a chaotic situation & we’re looking at all available video to determine why certain decisions were made."
Public Advocate and Attorney General-elect Letitia James tweeted on Tuesday: "Thank you @BklynDefender for your tireless work to get Jazmine the justice she deserves."
"Jazmine, while those officers tried to silence you, the rest of New York heard you, saw you & fought for you. We will never allow anyone to be treated that way," James added.