Last Friday, Jazmine Headley was arrested after New York Police Department officers attempted to wrestle her one-year-old son out of her hands at a Brooklyn food stamp office. The charges against her—which included resisting arrest, trespassing and acting in a manner injurious to a child, according to the New York Times—have been dropped, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The incident was recorded by a witness, and the video was widely shared. In it, Headley can be heard shouting “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!” while police officers tower over her and bystanders clamor around them, trying to help. Headley was at the office to ask about child-care benefits, and had sat down on the floor when there were no more seats available. At some point, a security guard asked her to move. When Headley refused, as there were still no seats available, police were called to the scene and proceeded to violently attempt to tear her son from her arms and pull her up off the floor.
“Like everyone who watched the arrest of Jazmine Headley, I was horrified by the violence depicted in the video and immediately opened an investigation into this case,” Gonzalez writes in his statement. He faults the Human Resources Administration officer for “escalat[ing] the situation.” He goes on, explaining how it would be an injustice to prosecute 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: she and her baby have been traumatized, she was jailed on an unrelated warrant and may face additional collateral consequences.”
Headley has also been released from Rikers Island, where she was behind held in relation to another warrant, according to a tweet from Gonzalez:
De Blasio is almost right—she should have never been separate from her son in the first place. What would be great is if the officers involved in the dispute went through the de-escalation training that they should have already have had.