Share

Video shows NYC police pulling toddler from mother's arms

Share

NEW YORK (AP) — Outrage built Monday over a video showing police officers violently yanking a toddler from his mother’s arms at a Brooklyn public benefits office, with officials criticizing police for not de-escalating the situation and clients of the facility complaining it is indicative of how the city treats social-services recipients.

The video, taken by a bystander, captured the chaotic scene that unfolded last Friday as officers tried to remove mother Jazmine Headley from the crowded office, where she had sat on the floor for two hours because of a lack of chairs. Police were called when she refused a security guard’s order to leave. The woman ended up lying face-up on the floor during a tug of war over her 18-month-old son.

“The baby was screaming for his life,” Nyashia Ferguson, who posted video on Facebook under the name Monae Sinclair, told The New York Times . “The lady was begging for them to get off of her. I was scared.”

Other clients shouted at the officers. At one point, an officer can be seen pulling her stun gun and pointing it at people in the angry crowd.

Headley was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing. As of Monday afternoon, she was still in jail because there was a warrant for her arrest in New Jersey, prosecutors said. Bail was not requested and prosecutors were reaching out to New Jersey officials to “expedite her release.”

Trending:
Buttigieg's Port Visit Blows Up in His Face When People Notice What Was Lurking Over His Shoulder

A family member was taking care of the child, authorities said.

The Brooklyn public defender’s office called on prosecutors to dismiss the charges.

At a news conference outside the benefits office Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a Democrat and former police officer, likened the officers involved in Headley’s arrest to “Border Patrol police snatching away” a baby. He called the arrest “a blemish on our entire city.”

“The mother didn’t endanger the welfare of the child. The actions of the department endangered the welfare of the child,” Adams said. “If it’s wrong in Mexico, then it’s wrong in New York City.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat, called the incident “appalling and heart breaking,” and criticized both the police and the city agency where Headley had gone for help.

“It is unacceptable that Human Resources Administration has such little capacity to handle its core functions that folks seeking their assistance must sit on the floor with their children while waiting for an appointment,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday tweeted, “This was a disturbing incident. Like anyone who’s watched this video, I have a lot of questions about how this was handled.”

Steve Bank, commissioner of the Department of Social Services, said he was “deeply troubled” by the incident and a “thorough” review had been launched. He said two HRA employees, whom he described as peace officers, are being placed on modified duty pending that investigation.

The New York Police Department is also reviewing the situation. Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said the video was “very disturbing.”

Related:
GOP Congressman Who Voted to Impeach Trump Announces Retirement

“We were called to a chaotic situation, & we’re looking at all available video to determine why certain decisions were made,” O’Neill said in a tweet.

It wasn’t clear from court charging documents or the video why security guards at the center had ordered Headley to leave or why she refused to go.

Patrick Lynch, the head of the union that represents patrol officers, said the officers were “put in an impossible situation” and blamed shouting bystanders for making a tense situation worse.

“The event would have unfolded much differently if those at the scene had simply complied with the officers’ lawful orders,” he said. “The immediate rush to condemn these officers leaves their fellow cops wondering: when confronted with a similar impossible scenario, what do you want us to do? The answer cannot be ‘do nothing.'”

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office said it was investigating and hoped to reach a swift decision on whether to prosecute Headley.

Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, the legal aid office handling Headley’s case, said at a news conference that it isn’t uncommon for stressed clients of the city’s overburdened social serve agencies “to find themselves arrested because of an incident that wasn’t really criminal.”

Benefits recipients like Karen Blondel, 56, a former client at the Brooklyn office, said the atmosphere inside the city aid offices was oppressive.

“The way they treat people in here from the time you get here in the morning, it’s absolutely inhumane,” she said.

Jeremy Friedman, 32, a massage therapist who has received food stamps, said he was regularly “treated like I’m not even human” at the office, and rudely hung-up on when he tried to call with questions.

Jennifer Roman, 33, said she works but has used public benefits for 13 years. She went to the Brooklyn office for the first time Monday after moving to the neighborhood from the Bronx.

There’s a systemwide problem of disrespect, Roman said, and she was not surprised by what the video showed.

There’s a perception, she said, that “since we need help, we’re no good, we’re scum.”

“Being poor is not a crime,” said Democrat Letitia James, the city’s public advocate and the state’s attorney general-elect, in a statement. “No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation

The Western Journal is pleased to bring back comments to our articles! Due to threatened de-monetization by Big Tech, we had temporarily removed comments, but we have now implemented a solution to bring back the conversation that Big Tech doesn't want you to have. If you have any problems using the new commenting platform, please contact customer support at commenting-help@insticator.com. Welcome back!