'I'm Just Happy To Be Free:' Brooklyn Mom In Viral Video Back Home With Son

December 12, 2018 - 7:44 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — The mother whose child was ripped from her arms during an arrest that was captured on video is back with her boy.

Jazmine Headley, 23, was released from Rikers Island Tuesday night after having all charges against her dropped.

"I'm just happy to be free. I just need to see my son," Headley said Tuesday.

Headley was arrested Friday at a Brooklyn social services office and faced multiple charges, including resisting arrest and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced that he had moved to dismiss the charges on Twitter earlier in the day.

"Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Discretion is the better part of valor and we must be thoughtful and compassionate in evaluating the merit of our cases – a central goal of my Justice 2020 Initiative.”

Gonzalez added that he was “horrified by the violence depicted in the video” and said it was clear to him that “this incident should have been handled differently.”

Police Commissioner James O'Neill echoed the DA’s statement saying he also found the video disturbing, and said the department will be reviewing that video, as well as footage from the officers' body cams.

The city officers seen in the video prying the child from Headley’s arms have since been placed on desk duty.

The incident happened after Headley refused to leave a SNAP benefits center in Brooklyn while waiting for childcare assistance.

“It starts with the police yanking our client’s child out of her arms while she’s on the floor as she’s screaming: ‘My baby, my baby, you’re hurting my baby,’” Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said of the viral video.

Speaker Corey Johnson and numerous other councilmembers and advocates stood at City Hall Tuesday denouncing what happened Headley and her 1-year-old son.

“I felt immediately heartbroken for Ms. Headley and for her baby boy, and furious at what I saw because of how unacceptable that video is,” Johnson said.

Additionally, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo said Mayor Bill de Blasio is not doing enough and believes he should come with the same passion as if that had been his own wife and child.

Headley had been in jail in Rikers Island since Friday, held on an outstanding arrest warrant from July 2017 for failure to appear in connection with credit card fraud.

She appeared before a New Jersey judge Wednesday, who told her that charges will be dropped in her credit card fraud case if she successfully completes an intervention program. Judge Peter Warshaw said Headley will have to pay back about $1,000. Her agreement also includes 20 hours of community service.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)