Mum whose baby was ripped from her arms by police wins settlement
A woman whose one-year-old child was wrenched from her arms by officers in New York City is to receive a cash settlement from the city.
A video showing Ms Headley lying on the floor as officers attempt to wrestle the child from her arms went viral in December 2018, prompting a police investigation.
Jazmine Headley is set to receive £470,000 ($625,000) after filing a lawsuit in federal court in August over the incident last year, according to TV station WNBC.
Ms Headley was holding her child while at a social services office in Brooklyn on 7 December last year, while inquiring about her child care benefits, her lawsuit says.
She was sitting on the floor in a crowded waiting room, the suit says, when officers at the agency demanded she leave. She responded that she wanted to see a supervisor.
Video of the incident taken by a bystander and posted on social media shows Ms Headley on the floor on her back with several officers surrounding her as one tried to rip her child from her arms.
She can be heard saying: “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son.”
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The scene quickly escalated as bystanders surrounded the chaos and shouted over each other. One person is heard saying, “Oh my God! Look what they’re doing to her.”
At one point, an officer pulls out a yellow stun gun and points it at people in the angry crowd.
Officers for the city’s social services agency were the first to respond to Ms Headley, the New York Police Department said shortly after the incident. NYPD officers acted in support.
Immediately after the altercation, Ms Headley faced possible charges for resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass – but all charges were eventually dropped.
“Headley had been humiliated, assaulted, physically injured, threatened with a Taser, brutally separated from her son, handcuffed, arrested, and jailed-all by employees of the City of New York,” her lawsuit claims.
Her son, who was still breastfeeding at the time, “had been brutally wrenched from his mother’s arms, taken by strangers to a police precinct, and released to spend the night without his mother for the first time in his life”, according to the lawsuit.
Days after the incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio apologised to her publicly.
De Blasio’s spokeswoman, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, said in a statement on Friday that the city failed to treat Ms Headley with dignity and respect, WNBC reported.
“While this injustice should have never happened, it forced a reckoning with how we treat our most vulnerable,” Lapeyrolerie said.