Add "sitting on the floor of a waiting room while poor" to the list of things Black people cannot do without getting arrested.
Thankfully, the charges have been dropped and after five days at the infamous Rikers Island in New York, Jazmine Headley has been released without bail.
Headley had been waiting in line for four hours with her one-year-old son, trying to obtain a child care voucher at a Brooklyn office of the New York City Human Resources Administration. There were no chairs left, so Headley sat on the floor with her baby.
A security guard insisted she get off the floor, which Headley refused to do—as would most of us. After the exchange of words, the staff called 911 "due to her disorderly conduct towards others, and for obstructing the hallway."
When NYPD showed up, officers ripped her baby from her arms before physically restraining Headley. Onlooker Nyashia Ferguson captured the harrowing altercation on video, and it quickly went viral.
It is nothing short of mortifying.
Yes, that’s the NYPD trying to yank a baby from the arms of his mother. Follow Monae Sinclair’s Facebook link to s… https://t.co/LqYIL4Axkk— Pat Kiernan (@Pat Kiernan) 1544406212.0
Headley was arrested, charged and jailed for resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child and criminal trespass. For sitting on the floor of a waiting room.
Judge Craig Walker of Brooklyn ordered Headley released immediately on Tuesday after calling the incident "horrific" and saying her release was "the right thing to do."
Brooklyn Judge Craig Walker called the Headley video “horrific,” said releasing her with no bail was “the right thing to do.”— Mara Gay (@Mara Gay) 1544560678.0
Headley, upon her release, addressed the media and thanked those who had been supportive of her across the country.
"I'm just happy to be free, and I need to see my boy," she told those assembled.
Charges dropped. 23 yr old Jazmine Headley, released from Rikers, came home tonight to be reunited w her 1 yr old s… https://t.co/m0ISVM78Tn— Lucy Yang (@Lucy Yang) 1544581969.0
Brooklyn District Attorney shared the judge's sentiments, saying he was "horrified by the violence" of Headley's arrest. After immediately opening an investigation, he concluded that the altercation "should have been handled differently."
Statement from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez regarding #JazmineHeadley: https://t.co/U5jF1mnZJa— DA Eric Gonzalez (@DA Eric Gonzalez) 1544547150.0
On social media, people reacted with widespread anger at the incident, with many calling for punishment against the NYPD officers involved, and bringing attention to the wider issues of police violence and the ways our society punishes people for being poor.
Jazmine Headley’s only crime is one of poverty. Our city failed her. What happened last week is a stark reminder of… https://t.co/kJYZ012AVh— Helen Rosenthal (@Helen Rosenthal) 1544558276.0
@BrooklynDA Great, now stop prosecuting all the similar cases!— Nora Rawn (@Nora Rawn) 1544549825.0
Being poor is not a crime. The actions of the officers in this video are appalling & contemptible. There must be… https://t.co/c7JSPPtATd— Tish James (@Tish James) 1544405072.0
@BrooklynDA Fire the officers!— GhostKing (@GhostKing) 1544592764.0
Your staff assaulted and traumatized Jazmin Headley AND her infant. She's been sitting in Rikers for days while you… https://t.co/jwOt6fcvYn— Elisheva Avital (@Elisheva Avital) 1544534478.0
@BrooklynDA The violence on Ms. Headley was truly horrific but don’t forget- the police violently attacked a one ye… https://t.co/UnHQphsPmi— Antifa Shaman 👩🏽🎤 (@Antifa Shaman 👩🏽🎤) 1544583272.0
@LucyYang7 @shaunking @ABC7NY @billritter7 @SandraBookman7 Many of us are getting to know how brutal and racist the… https://t.co/ClRmp5xkeF— Chris Obiekwe (@Chris Obiekwe) 1544591136.0
@LucyYang7 @BlackEndowment @ABC7NY @billritter7 @SandraBookman7 De Blasio and Cuomo just approved $5billion in NY'e… https://t.co/7UxlRJ5yUU— Audrey Shipp (@Audrey Shipp) 1544610576.0
@LucyYang7 @ABC7NY @billritter7 @SandraBookman7 There should have never been charges brought to begin with. While t… https://t.co/ad9mPBMjGn— Hannah Drake (@Hannah Drake) 1544617246.0
After her ordeal, Headley was finally reunited with her baby Tuesday night.
Home sweet home. 23 yr old Jazmine Headley reunited w her 1 yr old son Damone Buckman and her mother Jacqueline Jen… https://t.co/qKCkCQ71rn— Lucy Yang (@Lucy Yang) 1544585269.0
And a GoFundMe has been set up to help with the childcare costs she was trying to address at the HRA office where she was arrested. As of this writing it had raised over $30,000.
#JazmineHeadley needs help w child care (and surely the costs associated with this nightmare) but she should also b… https://t.co/W4QA9CWZIS— Jamilah Lemieux (@Jamilah Lemieux) 1544555934.0
At least there will be a silver lining to this horrific incident.