The New York Police Department is facing criticism over the way officers handled the arrest of a woman who was holding a baby and sitting on the floor of a food assistance center while waiting to be helped, according to the New York Post.
Cell phone video of the incident showed several officers attempting to restrain the woman, with at least one officer forcibly attempting to wrestle her baby out of her hands. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill expressed concern over the images.
"The video obviously is very disturbing," O'Neill said. "But being a cop, it's a really difficult job. Thank goodness nobody was hurt, or at least at the time nobody reported any injuries. And then going forward, as with any incident that we're involved in, we'll learn from this."
Jazmine Headley was waiting in the Brooklyn food stamps office, which was crowded at the time. There were reportedly no chairs for her to sit in, so she sat on the floor.
A security guard confronted her, resulting in a verbal altercation between the two, and the police were called to the scene. That's when things escalated.
According to The New York Times, police asked her to move multiple times, and she refused. They say security guards took her down and that's when police tried to arrest her, which is when cellphone video picks up. The woman can be heard screaming "They're hurting my son!"
Headley was eventually detained and charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams claimed it was the officers, not Headley, who put the child at risk.
"The mother didn't endanger the welfare of the child," Adams said in a briefing outside the scene, according to the New York Post. "The actions of the department endangered the welfare of the child."
The NYPD is investigating the incident, and as of Monday evening the officers involved were still on duty.