The NYPD’s commissioner on Monday vowed a thorough investigation into “very disturbing” video footage of cops ripping a baby boy from her mother’s arms in a Brooklyn food-assistance center, as a growing chorus of politicians demanded a top-to-bottom review of department policies.
“The video obviously is very disturbing,” said top cop James O’Neill of the clip that captured officers grappling with a screaming Jazmine Headley over her 1-year-old son Friday in a Boerum Hill SNAP center. “I’m a dad, I have two kids.
“But being a cop, it’s a really difficult job,” O’Neill continued, addressing reporters at a City Hall event in which Mayor Bill de Blasio dodged questions on the troubling incident. “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.”
Hizzoner tweeted shortly after the event that he too was demanding answers about how the situation went down.
“This was a disturbing incident. Like anyone who’s watched this video, I have a lot of questions about how this was handled,” de Blasio tweeted. “NYPD & [the city Human Resources Administration, which oversees operations in programs including SNAP] will get to the bottom of what happened.”
The department is reviewing both cellphone and police bodycam video of the run-in, as well as trying to nail down the exact circumstances of what happened before the cameras were rolling, O’Neill said.
Cops were called to the Bergen Street building Friday afternoon because Headley, fed up over her long wait and tired from standing with her son for hours because no chairs were open, sat on the floor and refused a city security guard’s order to get up or leave, authorities previously said.
When they arrived, cops wrestled with the 23-year-old mom, trying to wrest her son from her arms as horrified onlookers yelled out and captured the encounter on video.
But when the dust settled, it was Headley who was in custody, hit with charges including resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former cop, on Monday demanded an exhaustive review of his former department’s policies over what he called “a blemish on our entire city.”
“The mother didn’t endanger the welfare of the child,” Adams said in a briefing outside the SNAP center. “The actions of the department endangered the welfare of the child.”
Adams now joins a growing number of politicians to speak out against the video, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilman Stephen Levin and State Attorney General-Elect Tish James.
Headley remains behind bars on Rikers Island, but the Brooklyn DA’s office said Monday that it hadn’t requested bail and were working with New Jersey authorities to clear up a warrant so she can walk free ahead of her next court date.
The officers involved remain on duty in the early stage of the departmental investigation.
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