There will be no punishment for a group of New York City police officers who ripped a toddler from the arms of a mother that prompted nationwide outrage after the incident was caught on video and went viral.
Police said Friday that an internal affairs investigation into the controversial arrest of Jazmine Headley at Brooklyn public benefits office on December 7 found no wrongdoing with the officers involved that would result in disciplinary action, according to Politico.
The decision comes less than one week after the police department called the arrest “troubling,” after officers had responded to a 911 call for harassment. When the officers arrived, security guards told them that the 23-year-old Headley had refused to leave.
“The NYPD has conducted a strenuous review of what happened because the public deserves answers, and we must take every opportunity to continuously strengthen how the NYPD serves the people of New York City,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement. “This review shows that prior to the incident depicted on public video, NYPD officers are working with the client to de-escalate the situation.”
The move not to punish the officers came three days charges were dropped against Headley for obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing. District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said he dismissed the charges “in the interest of justice.”
Headley had apparently been sitting on the floor with her 18-month-old son inside the benefits office because there were no available chairs when officers arrived after she got into an argument with a security guard.
In a cellphone video taken by an onlooker that went viral, a female sergeant and three police officers are shown surrounding Headley and attempt to pull the child away. Then one officer repeatedly yanks the child in an apparent attempt to separate him from his mother.
“You’re hurting my son!” Headley can be heard saying in the video.
Soon, more officers join in, and the officer who yanked the child waves a yellow stun gun at an outraged crowd recording the incident. Headley was taken into custody where she spent four days in jail before her release on Tuesday.
Also, two peace officers with the Human Resources Administration (HRA) who called the police on Headley, have been suspended without pay, according to NY1.com. The union leader who represents the peace officers told NY1.com that they are being used as “scapegoats.”
Meanwhile, Politico reports that the NYPD’s review of the incident recommends policy changes, including establishing guidelines for interactions between NYPD and HRA officers.
The recommendations also include summoning a police supervisor when police respond to calls at HRA facilities and reviewing tactics and training programs for situations in which police officers encounter someone holding a young child.
This week, supporters for Headey created a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $35,000, about $10,000 more than its original goal.