Jasmine Headley, age 23, was carrying her child into a city agency building in Brooklyn where SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is located, and sat on the floor to wait as there were no more chairs. A bystander, Nyashia Ferguson, who goes by the name Monae Sinclair on Facebook, reported she saw a security guard confront Headley and the two got into an argument. Security called the police, and when they arrived, Headley tried to explain, but they cut her off. That’s when things got ugly.
In a viral video, Ferguson recorded police officers aggressively pulling on her infant child attempting to rip the baby out from her arms and arrest her. It is difficult to watch. Headley, is heard saying, “I’m begging you please.”
“The baby was screaming for his life,” said Ferguson, who was there with her 7-month-old daughter.
“They are hurting my son,” screamed Headley.
Ferguson added, “I’m so f—— disgusted with the NYPD. I’m a mother myself and I would’ve lost my f—— mind if this was me. They would’ve had to kill me.”
Bystanders’ shouted: “Oh my God, oh my God, look what they’re doing to us, look what they’re doing to her,” and “There’s a fking baby in her hands!”
Headley was actually arrested for resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing, police said. A family member took her son and child services was notified.
So this can happen to a Black mom for sitting on the floor of a social services building with her child, who gets in an argument with a security guard, but a white man threatening an officer in a recent viral video gets to not only walk free, but also doesn’t get tackled or assaulted.
A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.
Public Advocate Letitia James wrote on Facebook regarding the incident, “Being poor is not a crime. No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”
“They’re always rude,” Ms. Ferguson said about the guards in an interview. “They think that people that are poor don’t have nothing, so you can treat them any kind of way.”
Borough President Eric Adams said, “the department endangered the child, not the mother.” He has called for the charges to be dropped saying she was not a criminal.
“She had to take a day off of work because her benefits were shut off unexpectedly. Had to take her 1-year-old because of lack of child care,” Adams said.
The police’s explanation of what their officers seemed to put the full blame on Headley:
They were called “due to (Headley’s) disorderly conduct towards others, and for obstructing the hallway,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.
“The woman was then informed by police numerous times to leave the location, and she refused,” the NYPD said.
Officers with the Human Resources Administration “brought the woman to the floor. NYPD officers then attempted to place her under arrest,” the NYPD said.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the incident is under review, and that the “video images of the incident in the 84th precinct are troubling.”
Deputy Commissioner Phillip Walzak, a police spokesman, said the officers, all from the 84th Precinct, remained on full-duty status. He refused to release their names.
Reader Question: Do you think charges should be filed against the officers or the mother