An exhausted single mother was visiting the Human Resources administration building in Brooklyn when her requests for help were met with resistance. Jazmine Headley, the mother, was not only denied her requests for help, but she ultimately ended the day in jail as a result of the ordeal.
Jazmine Headley’s goal was to obtain a day care voucher for her one-year-old son, who was with the mother at the time, so she could work part-time as a cleaner. When she arrived at the Brooklyn welfare office, the area was already packed with people. According to witnesses, lines were moving very slowly, and the seating areas were completely overwhelmed much of the day.
Eventually, the mother needed some rest, so she sat down on the floor with her one-year-old. A security guard noticed her sitting and promptly told her she could not continue sitting on the floor. The guard told Headley that she must remain standing, but Headley began arguing with him. The situation escalated, and police were called to the scene. Once police arrived, Headley’s situation quickly took a turn for the worse. Police decided to initiate an arrest, so they began attempting to separate the mother and son. Officers forcefully grabbed the child and a tug-of-war broke out between the mother and officers. The young one-year-old boy was stuck in the middle being tugged in all directions.
The interaction between the mother, her one-year-old baby and police officers was all captured on video. The footage was uploaded online and quickly went viral. Many elected politicians have condemned the police officer’s actions and expressed shock over the arrest. Letitia James, the State Attorney General in New York, called the officer’s behavior “appalling and contemptible.” She furthered, “being poor is not a crime.”
Despite the reactions to the video, Headley remains imprisoned on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and acting in a manner injurious to a child. Headley also lost custody of her child, and she is not allowed to have contact with him. A family member has reportedly taken custody of the child.