By Verena Dobnik Associated Press
NEW YORK — The New York City police commissioner said Friday that a more complicated and “chaotic” story is emerging from a witness video that went viral showing a tug-of-war between a New York mother with a toddler and police yanking the boy from her.
Police said an internal review found that Jazmine Headley had used the child as a shield to avoid arrest on Dec. 7 at a Brooklyn social services office.
According to the review — based on information from witnesses and officers at the scene with body cameras — the 23-year-old woman became verbally abusive and bit the arm of a security employee at the Human Resources Administration who tried to remove her after she sat on the floor, blocking others. She then took the child from his stroller and refused to budge, flailing when approached, witnesses cited in the review said.
The Internal Affairs Bureau said two police officers were trying to calm the situation but failed, finally taking the child. They remain on active duty.
Witnesses later told police that it was two city security officers who first escalated the confrontation with the woman. They’re on modified duty.
“This incident was chaotic and difficult to watch, and clearly something went wrong,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Friday. “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.”
In the wake of this incident, the commissioner said the department is looking to improve both its own procedures and coordination with fellow city agencies.