Jazmine Headley has filed an excessive-force complaint last Wednesday in the Brooklyn federal court. The suit was filed against the city of New York because the employees who assaulted and humiliated her work for the government. The incident was recorded by someone in the room, and the video went viral on social media.
Last December 7th, the 24-year-old mom went to the SNAP center in Boerum Hill to reapply for childcare benefits because she got cut-off by the city. She wanted to find out why the government stopped paying for her child’s day care fees. Authorities were called on her when she had a heated argument with a security guard who told her not to sit on the floor. She admits she should’ve left, but she didn’t because she was determined to get the things her son needed.
What happened next was something she didn’t foresee. The guards told her that if she didn’t leave, they would take her to the city’s child-welfare agency and her son would be taken away. The peace officer then lunged at Headley, and everyone tumbled down to the floor. Two officers restrained her while two others ripped her son from her arms. The baby boy started screaming, and the people around were yelling at the officers to leave him alone.
She was locked up for several nights without her son on charges of obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespassing, and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges against her have been dropped, but Headley is suing the city for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The incident may have given her son trauma, and it disrupted her transition out of breastfeeding. In her complaint, Headley stated that her and her son became victims of a “torrent of violence and abuse,” and it would only be right if the city righted these wrongs.
The city’s law department is currently reviewing the complaint. The centre has released a statement saying that they are doing everything they can to implement changes in their systems. This includes retraining security staff, introduction of de-escalation techniques, requirement of implicit bias training, and new response protocols. Hopefully, Headley’s case will be the last of these kinds of incidents that could traumatize both a mother and her child.