The New York City Police Department is facing backlash after a video showed officers ripping a baby from the arms of a mother who went to a social services office to apply for daycare vouchers.
Jazmine Headley, 23, went to the Human Resources Administration office Friday to apply for daycare vouchers for her 1-year-old son, Damone, so that she could start work as a security guard, according to her mother.
However, there were no seats in the waiting room of the Brooklyn office, so Headley and her son sat on the floor.
Headley’s mother, Jacqueline Jenkins, told WABC-TV that HRA guards told her daughter she could not sit on the floor because she was blocking a hallway. When Headley refused to stand, a supervisor at the office called the police, Jenkins confirmed.
"The NYPD was called after office staff and HRA peace officers made unsuccessful attempts to remove this individual from the facility due to her disorderly conduct towards others, and for obstructing a hallway," NYPD officials said in a statement.
A cell-phone video taken by Nyasia Ferguson, a witness who was also waiting at the office, shows at least three NYPD officers on top of Headley, who refused to let her child go. One officer grabbed Damone and yanked very hard in an attempt to pry him from his mother’s arms.
"They're hurting my son! They're hurting my son!" Headley is heard screaming in the video.
People at the office began yelling at the officers to stop and tried to say Headley had not been bothering anyone.
Headley was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, committing an act in a manner injurious to a child, criminal trespass and obstruction of governmental administration, according to the NYPD.
She was booked into the Rikers Island jail and faces a first court hearing on Thursday.
The child was turned over to Jenkins.
The NYPD called the incident "troubling" and said the encounter was "under review." Police officials also said the HRA guards were the ones who initially took Headly to the floor when she refused to leave.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who happens to be a former police officer, said Monday morning that he plans to go to the social services office to investigate the incident.
"Something's terribly wrong when the most well-trained police department can't resolve a dispute with a mother and child without looking like the President's southern border strategy. We must do better," Adams said in a statement posted on Facebook.
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