NEW YORK (AP) – Outrage built Monday over a video showing police officers violently yanking a toddler from his mother’s arms at a Brooklyn public benefits office, with officials expressing horror and criticizing police for not de-escalating the situation, and clients of the facility complaining it is indicative of how the city treats social-services recipients.
A witness said a security officer confronted the woman, Jazmine Headley, who had sat on the floor of the crowded office for two hours because of a lack of chairs. Police were called when she refused to leave. The woman ended up lying face-up on the floor during a tug of war over the child.
“The baby was screaming for his life,” Nyashia Ferguson, who posted video on Facebook under the name Monae Sinclair, told The New York Times . “The lady was begging for them to get off of her. I was scared.”
Other clients shouted at the officers. At one point, an officer can be seen on the video pulling her stun gun and pointing it at people in the angry crowd.
Headley was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing. As of Monday afternoon, she was still in jail because there was a warrant for her arrest in New Jersey, prosecutors said. Bail was not requested, and prosecutors were reaching out to New Jersey officials to “expedite her release.”
The New York Police Department is investigating. The Brooklyn public defender’s office called on prosecutors to dismiss the charges.
It isn’t unusual for people seeking help to be treated badly by the very agencies they’re turning to, Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said at a news conference.
“Poor people are often treated very less than, in many, many city-run agencies,” she said. “It is…