Brooklyn HRA officers in viral arrest say mom was abusive, bit them

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Naveen Dhaliwal has more.

Two Human Resources Administration peace officers who are currently suspended without pay after a woman's arrest went viral are telling their side of the story.

Video showed an excruciating tug of war in Brooklyn between a group of officers and 23-year-old Jazmine Headley, who was facing a slew of charges after the incident that she said started because there was nowhere for her and her son to sit as they waited hours to be seen.

It happened last Friday at the HRA building on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill.

Now, one of the peace officers involved in the arrest says what wasn't seen in the video was Headley biting her during the scuffle.

The two officers claim Headley was verbally abusive and deliberately used her 18-month-old son as a shield to avoid arrest, taking him from his stroller and clutching him to her chest as officers attempted to take her into custody. They also say there were plenty of seats available, but that Headley was blocking a passageway and refused to move despite repeated attempts.

"NYPD comes in, they ask her if she would get up, and at this point, she's asking for a supervisor, she's asking for the person that owns the building, 'I want to talk to them,'" HRA union representative Lawrence Bosley said. "The HRA agents inform her that this is beyond that point right now. 'You're now trespassing. You have to leave the building. You can come back on Monday.' She's still refusing to leave. So the police officers at that point inform her that they will be placing her under arrest if she doesn't leave. She refuses to leave."

Full video of arrest:
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Video posted to social media shows a group of New York police officers pulling a 1-year-old old boy from his mother's arms at a social services center.


Union reps say the officers did nothing wrong and followed protocol. Headley's attorney, Katherine Rosenfeld, disagreed.

"There is no justification for the way the HRA peace officers and NYPD treated Jazmine Headley and her son," she said. "Their conduct was disgraceful."

The commissioner of the department of social services completed his review Friday evening and said there were several opportunities for the incident to have been handled differently.

He apologized to Headley and her son and said the DSS will conduct training sessions for all HRA Peace Officers within the next 90 days with an emphasis on techniques for deescalating disputes.

Headley had been charged with resisting arrest, obstruction, trespassing and acting in a manner injurious to a child, but after seeing the video, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez had all charges dropped.

She had remained behind bars, however, due to the outstanding warrant in New Jersey.

A judge later ordered her to be released from Rikers Island, and she traveled to Mercer County Wednesday to answer the warrant on charges of credit card theft and trafficking in personal identifying information.

Headley pleaded not guilty and was accepted into pretrial intervention, a program for first-time offenders. She must do 20 hours of community service and has to pay part of the restitution and $125 in court fees.

She was released without bail and will have a clean record if she does what the court has required.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the incident in Brooklyn was "100 percent unacceptable."

"I believe that by the time the NYPD arrived, the situation was already out of hand and should not have been," the mayor said Wednesday.

The city's investigation into this incident is continuing.

7 On Your Side Investigates has previously reported on several disturbing incidents involving HRA security officers in Manhattan.

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