New York City will pay $625,000 to a woman whose 18-month old son was forcibly yanked from her hands by NYPD.
According to the Associated Press, Jazmine Headley and the city reached a settlement over the incident, which took place December 2018 at a Brooklyn's benefits office. A viral video showed the now 24-year-old mother on the floor as a group of officers tried to pull her child out of her arms.
"They’re hurting my son!" Headley is heard screaming in the footage. "They’re hurting my son!”
WARNING: Above below contains violent content.
The New York Times reports the incident began when Headley went to the Human Resources Administration office on Bergen Street to determine why day care benefits for her son were being cut off. While she waited, a dispute reportedly ensued between Headley and security officers, who told the mother she was not allowed to sit on the floor because she was blocking a fire zone. She admitted to the Times that she initially refused to move because there was nowhere else to sit.
"I just remember being talked to very viciously," she recalled. "It was more or less: 'You’re going to do what I say, and that’s it.'"
Minutes later, the police showed up and arrested Headley. She would go on to spend two days in Rikers Island on charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, endangered the welfare of a child, and trespassing. The charges were eventually dropped.
Video of her violent arrest sparked outrage and accusations of unnecessary force. It also highlighted the longstanding concerns about city workers' mistreatment of benefits recipients. The two guards who confronted Headley were suspended for 30 days with no pay.
About eight months after the footage went viral, Headley filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging a false arrest by police, malicious prosecution, excessive force, and other claims. On Friday, Bill de Blasio's office announced the city would pay $625,000 to settle the lawsuit. And, according to the Times, her day care benefits have been restored.
"Through her intelligence, bravery, and grace, Jazmine Headley turned the worst ordeal of her life — and of any parent's — into an opportunity for change for the entire city," Headley's attorneys, Katherine Rosenfeld and Emma Freeman, said in a statement.