Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday that he will not be pursuing charges against Jazmine Headley, the 23-year-old mother whose son was yanked from her arms by New York Police Department officers in a viral Facebook video.
“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,” Gonzalez said in a 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.”
Headley had been charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration, and trespassing. She also has an outstanding arrest warrant from Mercer County, New Jersey, for failing to appear in court on credit card fraud charges from July 2017.
Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director and founder of Brooklyn Defender Services, whose lawyers are representing Headley, said in a statement that they are working to get the young mother released from jail before she is transferred to New Jersey.
The New Jersey charges might complicate whether or not Headley can be released. Mercer County court officials told NJ.com that the judge who issued the warrant last year has not been notified that she is in custody, but would not confirm whether they were in talks with the Brooklyn DA’s office.
The viral Facebook video shows Headley clutching her son to her chest on the floor of a Human Resources Administration center on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, as officers attempt to remove the child from her arms. She can be seen screaming, “They’re hurting my son!” as officers jerk the child away from her.
Headley’s mother, Jacqueline Jenkins, told WABC News that her daughter went to the office Friday morning to receive child care vouchers so that she could take a job as a cleaner.
Jenkins and Nyasia Ferguson, who recorded the video, said that the incident was prompted by Headley and her son sitting on the floor due to a lack of chairs in the waiting room. An HRA employee asked her to move, and she refused, citing her need to sit with her child and all the seats being taken. After repeatedly refusing to stand, HRA security guards called the police.
New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks said in a statement Monday that the two HRA officers involved in the incident have been put on leave and will be placed on modified duty when they return to work, pending an investigation.
“HRA Centers must be safe havens for New Yorkers needing to access benefits to improve their lives. I am deeply troubled by the incident and a thorough review was launched over the weekend to get to the bottom of what happened,” Banks said.
The commissioner added that all HRA officers and staff members would be receiving training on how to de-escalate situations as a result of the incident.
In a statement posted to Twitter, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said that the department was also investigating the circumstances behind the video and the actions of the officers involved.
Headley’s arrest has prompted a public outcry against the city administration and the NYPD. As of publishing time, two rallies had been held in NYC on Tuesday to protest her treatment.
In addition, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for an investigation into Headley’s arrest on Tuesday.