Police: Mom in viral tug-of-war used baby as shield to avoid arrest, bit guard

December 15, 2018 - 12:27 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- A more complicated story is emerging from a witness viral video that shows a tug-of-war between a mother with a toddler and police yanking the boy from her.

Police said Friday that an internal review found Jazmine Headley used the child as a shield to avoid arrest on Dec. 7 at a Brooklyn social services office.

The review says the 23-year-old woman was verbally abusive and bit the arm of a city security employee who tried to remove her after she sat on the floor, took the child from his stroller and refused to budge.

The review says two officers were trying to calm the situation; they remain on active duty.

Witnesses told police two security officers first escalated the confrontation with the woman; they're on modified duty.

Charges have been dropped against Headley following the incident, which sparked outrage on social media. 

Intense video posted to Facebook shows Headley holding her 1-year-old son on the floor of the Human Resources Administration's SNAP office on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill.

Headley was reportedly sitting down on the floor of the office because there weren’t enough chairs.

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At some point, she got into an argument with a security guard, who told her sitting on the floor was prohibited. 

Police say they were eventually called and told the woman a number of times to leave. They they tried to arrest her.

In doing so, they pried the child from her arms, video shows.

The chaotic, two-minute video shows police wrestling with her as people scream in the background.

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Look what they doing to her!” one woman can be heard shouting.

Nyashia Ferguson recorded a two-minute video of the altercation. 

“I was just so disgusted, and I was like scared,” Ferguson told ABC7. “I thought the cops were supposed to help you. They just straight up came and attacked the lady.”

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez announced that he had moved to dismiss the charges on Tuesday morning.

"Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice," he said in a statement.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill tweeted that he found the video disturbing, and said the department will be reviewing that video, as well as footage from the officers' body cams.

Brooklyn Boro President Eric Adams, a former cop, said it's clear that procedures need to change.

"What can we do to ensure that someone is not waiting for a 4 hour period, and then look at clear procedures on when do we call the police," he said.

Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said he was "deeply troubled by the incident."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.