NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Human Resources Administration has placed two officers on suspension after they violently pulled a mother’s toddler son from her arms in a videotaped encounter of a crowded New York City social services waiting room.
The two peace officers, who have not yet been named, were on modified desk duty pending the results of an investigation prior to Friday’s announcement of 30-day suspensions.
Video posted on Facebook shows the mother, 23-year-old Jazmine Headley, holding tightly to her baby son as three officers try to take the 1-year-old away while making an arrest.
The version of events given by the peace officers is much different from the narrative growing from the dramatic viral video moments.
Derek Jackson of Teamsters Union 237, which represents the officers, said the HRA officers were working to assist, not harm.
“HRA officers were trying to secure and help Miss Headley with her baby because Miss Headley was out of control, she was disorderly, she was cursing, she refused to move, she was uncooperative,” he said.
According to documents obtained by CBS2, the official reports filed by the two HRA officers before the NYPD officers arrived said Headley refused to move from blocking the center for government assistance in Boerum Hill inside the SNAP Center on Bergen Street.
“She became very loud, irate and was using profanity,” it read, adding “she intentionally used her toddler son as a shield.”
According to the report, “He was sitting in his stroller – but she took him out once she knew the police were called… (then put him) in a tight hold, grabbing his clothes and even wrapped her legs around his body so he couldn’t be detached.”
The two officers also claim they were injured by Headley after she bit one of them and kicked the other the shoulder.
“Everybody was very calm with her, and everyone asked her for at least a half hour can she please get up and go sit down in a chair where there was many of them available, and she refused and cursed out everyone,” said Jackson.
These exchanges happened before the NYPD arrived.
“She made comments that they are nothing, they are weak security guards, she called the officers a female dog, she called them the F-bomb, she was totally out of control,” he said.
“I would certainly say to her as a parent I apologize that you went through this horrible situation in one of our offices,” HRA commissioner Steve Banks said this week. “We’re reinforcing that our offices are to be a place where people get a helping hand, not the back of the hand.”
On orders from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Banks and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill are trying to figure out what needs to happen in order to prevent such a violent incident from ever happening again.
“I think the situation for this young mother could have been de-escalated. There could have been interventions that didn’t allow it to get to this point,” Banks said.
A judge ordered Headley released from Rikers Island on Tuesday. On Wednesday she was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and complete some community service in an unrelated credit card fraud case in New Jersey.