Days after a disturbing video of NYPD officers violently removing a woman’s one-year-old child from her arms sparked national outrage, all charges against the mother have been dropped. Jazmine Headley, 23, also received apologies from Mayor Bill De Blasio and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. On Tuesday Headley was released from Rikers Island and reunited with her son, Damone.
“I'm just so grateful to everyone and I'm just happy to be free and I just need to see my boy," Headley said following her release.
Headley had reportedly been waiting four hours at a Brooklyn Human Resources Administration (HRA) office to receive daycare reimbursement. With no seats available in the overcrowded room, she sat on the floor with her son. When she refused to stand, security called the police. The situation quickly escalated. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told CBS2 News that “a Taser was used” and that HRA peace officers tried to remove Headley because of what they described as "disorderly conduct towards others and for obstructing the hallway."
Headley was charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing. On Tuesday morning Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez dropped those charges and released a statement saying, in part, “It is clear to me that this incident should have been handled differently. An HRA officer escalated the situation as Ms. Headley was about to leave the premises, creating an awful scenario of a baby being torn from his mother.”
Letitia James, the Public Advocate and state attorney general elect issued a statement echoing the sentiments of many who were appalled by the video saying, "Being poor is not a crime. No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video."
And in an unrelated press conference Mayor Bill De Blasio apologized to Headley and said, “We will put in place specific changes to make sure this does not happen again. She posed no threat whatsoever. I watched the video… there was no call for that type of response.”
The mayor had come under criticism for waiting two full days before commenting on the situation.