On Tuesday afternoon, elected officials in New York City gathered in front of City Hall to denounce the violent arrest of 23-year-old Jazmine Headley, which had happened the previous Friday while she and her 1-year-old son were waiting at one of the city’s public assistance offices. Headley’s arrest was captured in a hard to watch video taken by a bystander; in it, you can see a swarm of security guards and police officers surrounding her as she sits on the floor clutching her son Damone, repeatedly calling out, “They’re hurting my son!” before an officer ripped the one-year-old out of her arms. At one point, an officer takes out a bright yellow taser and waves it around at the people watching in horror.
In the days that followed, the consequences had continued to compound for Headley, who did nothing to provoke the reaction of the Human Resource Administration security guards and NYPD officers except, perhaps, commit the sin of being black and in need of childcare assistance and a place to sit. The Brooklyn district attorney had dropped all charges against Headley, but as of Tuesday afternoon, she was still being held, without bail, at Rikers Island, the city’s jail, as a result of an outstanding warrant related to a credit card fraud case in New Jersey.