Charges dropped against mom after video stokes outrage
NEW YORK — A mother who was arrested after police violently pulled her toddler son from her arms in a videotaped encounter at a New York City social services office has had all charges against her dismissed, with the Brooklyn district attorney saying Tuesday he was acting “in the interest of justice.”
Jazmine Headley had been in jail since Friday on charges including obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing, after she was arrested following a dispute with a guard in a crowded waiting room of a Brooklyn public benefits office.
In dismissing the charges, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said he was “horrified by the violence depicted in the video,” which showed officers yanking Headley’s 18-month-old son from her arms, and that the situation should have been handled differently.
“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,” he said in his statement. “Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice.”
It was unclear when Headley might be released from jail. She remained held Tuesday on an unrelated warrant issued in New Jersey.
The video, posted to social media by an onlooker, caused a furor, spurring outrage from those who say it’s indicative of how social service recipients are treated. It showed Headley ending up lying face-up on the floor, and a police officer at another point pulling her stun gun out and aiming it at the upset crowd.
Officials said the situation is being reviewed by the New York Police Department and the Department of Social Services. Two city employees have been placed on modified duty in connection to the incident.