New York City will have to pay $625,000 to resolve a lawsuit filed by a mother whose toddler was yanked from her arms by police in a widely seen online video. Jazmine Headley sued the city, alleging trauma and humiliation and seeking unspecified damages over the December 2018 incident at a Brooklyn benefits office.
In February, she testified before the city council, which offered her a public apology and passed legislation aimed at improving how people are treated at benefits offices and making the system more transparent. Headley’s lawyers, Katherine Rosenfeld and Emma Freeman said in a statement: “Through her intelligence, bravery, and grace, Jazmine Headley turned the worst ordeal of her life — and of any parent’s — into an opportunity for change for the entire city.”
On the video, police officers are seen pulling Headley’s 18-month-old son away from her as they responded to a call about a dispute with a security guard. Headley, 24, was arrested and spent four days in jail before Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez dropped charges of obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing. However the video was posted to social media by an onlooker, which caused outrage from those who say it’s indicative of how social service recipients are treated. It showed Headley ending up lying face-up on the floor, and a police officer at another point pulling her stun gun out and aiming it at the upset crowd.