If this is what de-escalation looks like, what is escalation? But according to New York City Commissioner James O’Neill, that’s what officers were trying to do during the horrific encounter last week between Jazmine Headley, a young Brooklyn mom, and city Human Resources Administration officers who were seen on video dragging her child away from her.
“I looked at the video and it was absolutely disturbing,” O’Neill said during an interview on The Joe Piscopo Show on 970 AM on Thursday, according to the New York Daily News. “I saw the body cameras worn by the cops too, and the cops were doing their best to de-escalate the situation.”
Nonetheless, O’Neill noted that HRA Commissioner Steven Banks is expected to push out “new protocols” on what staff should do before calling the cops.
“They are taking a serious look on what they need to do,” O’Neill said. “We are going to make sure that if we are called to an HRA facility again, that an agency supervisor is there with us.”
O’Neill told the show that two of the officers who responded to the altercation – one of whom was seen on video threatening Headley and the nearby crowd with a Taser – are still young, with less than three years with the department. (Why this matters? No one knows.)
An internal review of the situation is also still ongoing.
“I just want to assure the public that we are taking this very seriously and should have some findings very soon,” O’Neill said.
In the video, Headley, 23, could be heard screaming “They’re hurting my son!” as officers grab the one-year-old and try to drag him away from her.
Even after cops separated the two and detained Headley, she could be seen pleading with officers, “I’m begging you please.”
According to witness reports, the incident started because Headley was seated on the floor of a SNAP center, waiting to receive benefits for childcare so that she could go to work. A security guard called officers after claiming Headley was “disorderly” and blocking the hallway, instead of getting her a chair or asking her to move to another position.
So I’m At 275 Bergen Street Handling My Business Or Whatever & There Wasn’t Any More Chairs For This Lady To Sit Down So She Sat In The Corner On The Floor. The Security Guard Came Over Said What Ever She Said To Her & She Made The Security Guard Feel Dumb So She Called The Cops On Her & This Was The Outcome SMH Mind You She Had Her Baby In Her Hands The Whole Time🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️ I'm So Fucking Disgusted with The NYPD😡😡 EVRYBODY PLEASE SHARE!!! I’m a mother myself & I would’ve lost my fucking mind if this was me they would've had to kill me🤬🤬🤬🤬
Posted by Monae Sinclair on Friday, December 7, 2018
Ultimately, Headley was arrested and faced multiple charges, including resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing. However, shortly after the incident went viral, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez declined to prosecute her, noting that “continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I, therefore, moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice.”
Later that day, a judge ordered Headley to be released from jail without bond — a huge decision considering Headley had an outstanding warrant out of New Jersey after she did not show up in court last year for a hearing on 2016 credit card fraud charges.
On Wednesday, Headley got justice in that case as well, with a judge dismissing the warrant against her after she pleaded not guilty, according to ABC News.
“Today is a great day for Jazmine, her mom and her little boy,” Headley’s attorney, Brian Neary said.
Headley was allowed to enroll in a 36-month program for first-time offenders as a means of resolving the case. She also agreed to 20 hours of community service and to make an undetermined amount of restitution. But in the end, her record will be expunged, Neary noted.
“This is a not guilty plea and after the passages of time, the case will be dismissed and ultimately her criminal record will be expunged,” Neary said.
Currently, Headley is finally home with her son, Damone, and her mother.
This is what love looks like. Jazmine Headley reunited w/ her mom & her son. Family photos taken by the family. Shared w/ her permission. Without bystander videos she’d still be on Rikers, still be charged with child endangerment, & still be ordered to stay away from her son. pic.twitter.com/5WZZq4Kuhp
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) December 12, 2018