Jazmine Headley, the Brooklyn mom who was seen in the video with NYPD officers who pulled her 1-year-old child out of her hands, will be released from Rikers Island on Tuesday, according to her attorneys.
Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to ask that Headley be released from Rikers, where she has been held since Friday.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Craig Walker granted the services’ motion to have Headley, 23, released on her own recognizance.
The move marks a victory in the fight for “Justice for Jazmine” since the video of her forceful arrest went viral.
Earlier on Tuesday, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez dismissed all charges against Headley. She had been charged on Dec. 7 with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass, according to NYPD.
“Like everyone who watched the arrest of Jazmine Headley, I was horrified by the violence depicted in the video and immediately opened an investigation into this case,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
“It is clear to me that this incident should have been handled differently,” he continued. “An [Human Resources Administration] officer escalated the situation as Ms. Headley was about to leave the premises, creating an awful scenario of a baby being torn from his mother.”
Gonzalez said that the situation “traumatized” Headley and her 1-year-old son, who has “lingering bruising” from the altercation, according to Headley’s lawyers. Since that arrest, Headley was held at Rikers Island on an unrelated warrant from New Jersey.
That warrant, Schreibersdorf said at a Tuesday rally for Headley, stems from an incident three years ago, when she was in a car with someone in possession of stolen credit cards.
The fact that Headley even spent time in Rikers is outrageous to many city officials. Headley had been arrested after sitting on the floor at a Brooklyn Human Resources Administration center on Friday, where she had been waiting for four hours to find out why her childcare benefits were cut off.
“The answer to this should not have been police. The answer to this should have been a chair,” said State Attorney General-elect Letitia James at the Tuesday rally.
Jazmine Headley situation sheds light on larger issues, GoFundMe raising money for help
Headley’s situation sheds light on larger issues within the benefits system, where many New Yorkers report waiting four or five hours at these service centers.
“It’s a short video, two minutes and 26 seconds, but it shows in just two minutes and 26 seconds what is wrong in our system,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at the rally. “How disheartening it is to try and receive benefits for which you’re entitled, how overflowing these offices are with people who need help and how one incident can escalate so quickly and set off chain reaction that sends a mother to jail.”
Officials have promised to fight for changes concerning HRA wait times and when security officers in those centers call for police and use force.
While in Rikers, Headley has had no idea how much attention her case has garnered, her lawyers said, “but is glad that her story may help prevent these things from happening to someone else,” tweeted Scott Hechinger, a public defender with Brooklyn Defender Services.
Hechinger and others with the Brooklyn Defender Services launched an official GoFundMe for Jazmine Headley Tuesday morning. The GoFundMe has raised more than $17,000 by Tuesday evening.
Brooklyn Defender Services say that money will help pay for her child care, rent and allow her to get back to “the job that is waiting for her.”
After being released from Rikers Tuesday evening, Headley will need to appear in Mercer County, New Jersey on Wednesday. Her lawyers are calling on the Mercer County District Attorney to dismiss her warrant.