Back on Dec. 7, which feels like eons ago in this news cycle, Jazmine Headley had her baby snatched away from her at a government food stamp center in New York City. The horrific moment was caught on video, which quickly went viral. Headley was arrested and sent to Rikers Island, but Brooklyn Defender Services managed to get all charges dropped against her. Now she is finally getting a public apology.
Headley relived the incident while tearfully testified during a New York City Council meeting on Monday, the New York Times reported.
“It’s not just the fact that I was arrested. It was the harsh way that I was treated by people who are supposed to help me…,” she said. “In my case, I was just sitting. A peaceful act.”
Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA)/Department of Social Services Steven Banks then publicly apologized to Headley.
“I want everyone to hear our commitment to do more,” Banks said in part.
However, there was still no apology from the NYPD. According to the New York Post, an internal review by the NYPD claims Headley was “disorderly,” “loud,” “irate” and used her baby as a “shield.” Headley reportedly got into a spat with the HRA officers “because she was sitting on the floor of the center with her 17-month-old son, Damone Buckman III, because there were no chairs available.”
The report accused Headley of kicking and biting a police officer. According to the NYPD, an HRA officer stated, “The officers were careful while handling her not to harm the baby. The female client was the one putting him in a tight hold, grabbing his clothes and even wrapped her legs around his body so that he couldn’t be detached from her. The female officers grabbed her arm in order to cuff her but the female client kept pulling away to keep a grip on the bay. Additional NYPD officers were called to the scene. As soon as they arrived, the baby was released from the female client and she was arrested and escorted out of the facility.”
This statement contradicted Banks, who previously apologized to Headley in December by saying, “On behalf of our agency and our dedicated front-line staff in all five boroughs, I apologize to Jazmine Headley and her one-year-old son and to the people of the City of New York for the actions that were taken that day.”
Headley told the New York Times in December the incident began because she needed paperwork because her son’s daycare was threatening to kick him out over a lack of payments. “I should’ve left [the SNAP center], and I didn’t because if I would’ve left, my son would not have the things that he needs,” she said. “My main objective was to get there, handle business and get home. In my head, I told myself they’re not going to let me leave. I was so afraid. I was combative with my thoughts.”
From the start, she said the NYPD was rude, “It was more or less: ‘You’re going to do what I say, and that’s it.’ They never asked me my name. They never said, ‘Hello, who are you?’ They never asked me.”
Headley also stated that many people experience this type of disrespect at offices for social services. “It’s the story of many other people, it’s not just my story,” she said. “My story is the only one that made it to the surface.”
See the original video below: