All Jazmine Headley, 23, wanted to do last Friday was get a daycare voucher for her 1-year-old son so she could start her new janitorial job.
Yet somehow, that simple errand turned into unwarranted violence by the hands of the New York Police Department.
According to ABC-7, when Headley arrived to the Brooklyn Human Resources Administration office, she noticed there were no more available seats, so she and her son sat on the floor, blocking no entryways, witnessed said. Soon after, security guards ordered Headley to stand, which she refused.
That’s when a supervisor was called – and then the police.
“She called five other security guards, all harassing her, bothering her,” witness Nyasia Ferguson told ABC 7.
“Everyone…was like, ‘leave the girl alone, she’s not bothering anyone, just sitting there like all day.’ They kept harassing her.”
That’s when it got violent.
In the video Ferguson took of the incident, one can see four police officers, mostly women, violently wrestled with Headley on the ground, trying to snatch the baby from his mother’s arms.
Headley can be heard screaming, “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!”
The New York Times reported that afterwards a police officer waved a taser gun around the crowd of witnesses and several bystanders recording the violence.
Headley was later arrested and “charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing,” the paper noted. In addition, the police said she refused medical treatment for herself and her son.
While many in the community are up in arms about what happened to Headley, NYPD released a statement saying that the video was “troubling,” but blame Headley because she was being “disorderly.” However, the incident is being investigated.
“Video images of the incident in the 84th precinct are troubling, and the event is under review by the NYPD and HRA Police,” NYPD Sgt. Jessica McRorie said in an emailed statement.
Adding, “As NYPD officers were attempting to convince the woman to depart the facility, HRA peace officers brought the woman to the floor. NYPD officers then attempted to place her under arrest. She refused to comply with officers’ orders, and was then taken into custody.”
Meanwhile, the one-year-old child was placed with a family member and Headley is barred from seeing him.
Politico reported that on Sunday evening, State Attorney General-elect Tish James demanded the involved officers be assigned to desk duty pending an investigation.
“Being poor is not a crime. The actions of the NYPD in this video are appalling and contemptible. A full investigation must be conducted immediately, and the results should be made public so there is a transparent accounting of how this horrific situation occurred,” James said in a statement.
Adding, “All involved officers, including the assigned supervisor, should be assigned desk duty pending the investigation results. No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”
Jacqueline Jenkins, Headley’s mother, couldn’t agree more, telling ABC-7 she was “devastated” after watching the video.
“I was devastated to see something like that happen to my daughter and grandson, and how this officer yanking on my grandson to get him out of my daughter’s arms,” she said.