A young mother who was violently separated from her toddler at a Brooklyn social services office used the child as a ‘shield’ so she wouldn’t be arrested, a report states.
Jazmine Headley 23, was arrested earlier this week for a number of offences and had been held at Rikers Island before being released on Wednesday.
Footage of her arrest, posted to social media by an onlooker, caused outrage from those who say it’s indicative of how low-income social service recipients are treated.
Jazmine Headley, 23, who was separated from her son a Brooklyn social services office used the child as a ‘shield’ to prevent her arrest, a police report states
It showed Headley ending up lying face-up on the floor as officers try to take her baby from her arms, with officers pulling a stun gun out at the crowd.
Now statements from two Human Resources Administration officers at the SNAP center claim Headley acted ‘disorderly’ and ‘irate’ when she refused to move from the floor of the facility.
She also bit a city police officer on the arm and she was later taken to hospital, according to an internal agency report obtained by The New York Post.
She claimed that she got into a fight with the HRA officers because she was sitting on the floor with her 17-month-old son, Damone Buckman III, because there were no chairs available.
Statements seen by The New York Post claim a peace officer ‘made several attempts to calm client Headley down and to just have a seat to avoid [the] situation from getting worse’.
One report states that ‘she began to use her baby as a shield from getting arrested and was telling the officers, ‘You better not touch me’.
Another report says Headley ‘intentionally used her toddler son as a shield. He was sitting in his stroller, but she took him out once she knew the police were called’.
The video (above) shows Headley on the floor at a SNAP center in Boerum Hill, New York
At one point in the struggle they tried to take her one-year-old out of her arms as the woman cried: ‘I’m begging you please’
Before the NYPD arrived Headley was told that she could not sit on the floor of the facility ‘because it’s a passageway and should be free of obstruction’.
But according to the statement, Headley countered by ‘saying she is not f*****g moving anywhere’.
Another supervisor tried to talk to Headley but she refused to comply and became very loud, irate. She also used a profanity at security supervisors.
Headley was released from Rikers Island jail on Wednesday where she was held on charges including obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing.
But on Wednesday Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that in deciding to drop the case against Headley, he was acting ‘in the interest of justice’.
Gonzalez pointed a finger of blame at the guard, accusing him of escalating the situation as Headley was getting ready to leave with her 18-month-old child, and as a result ‘creating an awful scenario of a baby being torn from is mother’.
A report seen by The New York Post states that staff called the NYPD when the mother did not immediately comply with the guards’ orders that she either stand up or leave.
The video of Headley’s (left and right) arrest, posted to social media by an onlooker, caused a furor, spurring outrage from those who say it’s indicative of how low-income social service recipients are treated
Jazmine Headley, center, joins attorney Brian Neary and her mother, Jacqueline Jenkins, outside a courthouse in Trenton, New Jersey
Two responding NYPD cops had ‘approached client Headley to get up and leave the facility several times, but she insisted on getting service before she leaves the facility,’ the report states.
A witness report described the moment police wrestled with Headley and her baby.
It states: ‘As the NYPD officers were picking her up she began to flare up her arms. While resisting she put the baby between her legs in a tight grip.
‘NYPD officers tried to get the baby off her but she was putting up a fight’, the report states, adding that Headley then ‘kicked me on my right shoulder’.
Another peace officer got bitten on her left arm. A photo obtained by The Post shows an HRA peace officer’s arm with visible bite marks.
The officer was taken to Methodist Hospital after the incident, according to the report.
In one of the reports, an HRA officer states: ‘The officers were careful while handling her not to harm the baby.
‘The female client was the one putting him in a tight hold, grabbing his clothes and even wrapped her legs around his body so that he couldn’t be detached from her.
Headley said she was excited about being reunited with her son following her release from Rikers Island jail on Wednesday
‘The female officers grabbed her arm in order to cuff her but the female client kept pulling away to keep a grip on the bay.
‘Additional NYPD officers were called to the scene. As soon as they arrived the baby was released from the female client and she was arrested and escorted out of the facility’.
Officials have said the situation is being reviewed by the New York Police Department and the Department of Social Services.
Two city employees at the Boereum Hill SNAP center have been placed on modified duty in connection to the incident.
At one point during the struggle seen in the now-viral video posted to Facebook, in order to arrest Headley, officers tried to yank her son out of her arms as she cried: ‘They’re hurting my son… I’m begging you please.’
Other people can be heard screaming in the background as one woman shrieked: ‘Oh my God, oh my God, look what they’re doing to us, look what they’re doing to her.’
One officer pulled out a stun gun as an onlooker shouted: ‘There’s a f***ing baby in her hands!’
On Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio broke apologize to Ms Headley, to criticize the way she was treated and to defend his response to it.
‘I want to apologize to her on behalf of all 8.6 million New Yorkers,’ de Blasio said during his weekly news conference on Wednesday, at a public housing complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
He added: ‘What happened to Jazmine Headley and her son Damone should never have happened, should never happen to anybody’.