2 Officers Suspended Over Baby-As-Shield Incident, Then New Details Come Out
New York, NY – Newly-released details have come out about how a 23-year-old mother bit a police officer and grabbed her baby to use as a human shield during her arrest.
Two of the officers involved have already been suspended without pay.
After two Human Resources Administration officers were suspended, an NYPD investigation determined that the mother didn't grab her child until the police showed up, in an apparent attempt to use her baby as a human shield.
The altercation between New York police and Headley took place at the Human Resources Administration (HRA) office on Bergen Street on Dec. 7, after her food stamps were “shut off unexpectedly,” Borough President Eric Adams told WPIX.
Brooklyn Defender Services Executive Director Lisa Schreibersdorf said that Headley was actually trying to determine why her vouchers for daycare had ceased, ABC News reported.
Without an investigation done, media reports parroted a lawyer whose jobs is to lie for clients.
Headley’s mother, Jacqueline Jenkins, said she witnessed the altercation, which began after her daughter sat down on the floor because there were not enough chairs, she said.
HRA security officers then told Headley she was blocking the hallway and that she could not sit there, but Headley refused to move, according to Jenkins.
“I’m not f–king moving from here," she responded according to witness accounts.
“At that point I went over to client Headley to see if I can persuade her to get up and have a seat. As I approached her she was saying, 'Don’t f–king get close to me get out of my f–king face bitch,'” the report stated according to the New York Post. “Client Headley continued to her irate behavior and creating more scene.”
At that point, an HRA supervisor contacted NYPD for assistance.
Police received the call just before 1 p.m., the department said in a statement.
According to the New York Post, police now say that Headly grabbed her child from her stroller when she saw the police coming in order to use the toddler as a human shield.
“The NYPD was called after office staff and HRA peace officers made unsuccessful attempts to remove this individual from the facility due to her disorderly conduct towards others, and for obstructing a hallway," the statement read.
“After a few more minutes of pleading with the female client to put the baby down and leave the facility, necessary actions were taken by the uniformed officers to detain her,” the police report said.
The cell phone video did not capture the events that led up to the altercation, but did show Headley lying on the floor with her son held to her chest.
“They’re hurting my son!” she screamed repeatedly, as a crowd of onlookers quickly assembled.
The officers tried to get the wailing baby to safety, but Headley refused to let go.
During the fight, she bit and kicked the officers, according to the report.
“She’s got her f--kin' baby in her hands!” one bystander yelled at the officers, as Headley laid on her back and raised her boots into the air.
“She Made The Security Guard Feel Dumb So She Called The Cops On Her & This Was The Outcome,” the video caption read. “Mind You She Had Her Baby In Her Hands The Whole Time…I'm So F--king Disgusted with The NYPD.”
One officer pulled out a Taser as the irate crowd moved in, although it was never deployed, police said.
Police were able to get the child away from Headley, and he was ultimately turned over to Jenkins by Child Protective Services, ABC News reported.
Headley was arrested and charged with committing an act in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, and criminal trespass.
A judge also issued a protection order against her, and barred her from having contact with her child.
Outrage spread throughout the community after the video was posted to social media.
"These police officers were put in an impossible situation. They didn't create the dispute at the HRA office – as always, they were called in to deal with the inevitable fallout when the rest of our City government fails in its task," New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said in a statement, according to ABC News.
"The event would have unfolded much differently if those at the scene had simply complied with the officers' lawful orders," Lynch said.
"The immediate rush to condemn these officers leaves their fellow cops wondering: when confronted with a similar impossible scenario, what do you want us to do? The answer cannot be 'do nothing,’” he added.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill defended his officers, but the same couldn't be said for the HRA officers.
HRA Commissioner Steven Banks said he was “deeply troubled” by the video, and that he had placed two HRA security officers involved in the altercation on a 30 day unpaid suspension before the investigation into the incident was complete.
Banks said that HRA staff needs to be better trained to de-escalate situations on their own before they contact NYPD for assistance.
"HRA centers must be safe havens for New Yorkers needing to access benefits to improve their lives," he added.
Headley was taken to jail but had the charges against her dropped, according to The Guardian.
"The consequences this young and desperate mother has already suffered as a result of this arrest far outweigh any conduct that may have led to it: she and her baby have been traumatized, she was jailed on an unrelated warrant and may face additional collateral consequences," Gonzalez explained.
However, the investigation has revealed that this narrative is false, but the charges have already been dismissed.
"This incident was chaotic and difficult to watch, and clearly something went wrong," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Friday, according to the Associated Press. "The NYPD has conducted a strenuous review of what happened, because the public deserves answers, and we must take every opportunity to continuously strengthen how the NYPD serves the people of New York City."