Members of City Council’s Progressive Caucus, including Councilmembers Laurie Cumbo, Antonio Reynoso and Jumaane Williams, gathered at City Hall on Tuesday to express their outrage at the arrest of Jazmine Headley at Boerum Hill’s Human Resources Administration office on Friday.
A video of the incident, which shows three NYPD officers ripping her one-year-old son from her arms, circulated over the weekend on social media, gaining national and international attention.
Hadley, while waiting for her appointment, sat on the floor with her 1-year-old son. Security ordered her to get up. When Hadley refused because there were no other places to sit, an HRA staffer called the police and when they arrived, officers arrested her.
“As a mother, as a Black mother, I am devastated by what I witnessed in the video of Jazmine Headley being arrested at an HRA office while holding onto her young child,” said City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “We must demand answers, accountability and a new course of action for how these situations will be handled going forward. Jazmine Headley came to receive support and instead ended up in Rikers and separated from her child. We must make sure they are reunited, and ensure that this type of trauma is not afflicted on any parent or child in this situation again.”
Hadley was charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing. She has been held at Rikers Island since Friday in connection with an outstanding arrest warrant from New Jersey for a misdemeanor for failure to appear in relation to credit card fraud.
Two HRA peace officers have been placed on modified duty, but there has been no action taken relating to the NYPD officers, according to a statement by the Progressive Caucus.
“Friday’s video also raises many questions about the NYPD’s use of excessive and unwarranted physical force, especially against the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. “The emotional trauma that Ms. Headley has endured is irreparable. We have to get to the bottom of the HRA and NYPD’s operational failures.”
Councilmember Jumaane Williams added that the NYPD needs to explain how the situation escalated.
“Jazmine was not a threat, but a mother who felt threatened. Yet, an officer drew their taser and held it on her even as she only sought to hold her child,” said Williams. “The NYPD needs to explain itself. But I cannot imagine any explanation that would justify what we have seen.”
Meanwhile, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez announced that he has moved to dismiss the charges immediately “in the interest of justice.” Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Craig Walker agreed to release Headley on Wednesday.
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