Woman whose baby was ripped from her arms by officers won’t face charges

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Dec. 11, 2018 / 5:57 PM GMT

By Minyvonne Burke

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, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

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.

Police officers wrestle a baby from a mothers arms in Brooklyn.Monae Sinclair

“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: she and her baby have been traumatized, she was jailed on an unrelated warrant and may face additional collateral consequences. Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice,” the statement read.

The district attorney’s announcement follows calls from officials to have the charges dismissed.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a tweet Tuesday that the district attorney’s move was a “good first step” but Headley also needs to be released and “reunited with her son.”

Lisa Schreibersdorf, with Brooklyn Defender Services, said in a statement that Headley is being held at Rikers Island on a warrant stemming from a separate incident in New Jersey.

Schreibersdorf said her office, which provides public defense for Brooklyn residents experiencing financial hardships, is filing an application to ask a judge release Headley.

If the request is denied by the judge, Headley is expected to be transferred to New Jersey, Schreibersdorf said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the district attorney’s office in a tweet and said Headley “should be reunited with her child as soon as possible.”

The footage of the incident sparked backlash on social media and led to the 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.”