HRA guards to blame for escalating Jazmine Headley incident, NYPD review says


The NYPD officers involved in the forceful arrest of Jazmine Headley, which included tearing her 1-year-old son out of her arms, will not face discipline, with the department instead staying that a “strenuous review” found that Human Resources Administration personnel escalated the incident.

“This incident was chaotic and difficult to watch, and clearly something went wrong,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement.

Human Resources Administration (HRA) personnel escalated the situation, per the report. NYPD officers on scene repeatedly asked Headley to leave the benefits office, as HRA officers first directed, according to the department.

After a “terse” exchange between Headley and a HRA security guard, she tried to leave, but the guard grabbed her arm and they all fell down, according to the review. This is where the video began and when NYPD officers began to arrest her.

When the HRA guard grabbed her arm, Headley went into “defense” mode, she told the New York Times.

“In my head, I told myself they’re not going to let me leave,” she said. “I was so afraid. I was combative with my thoughts.”

jazmine headley nypd

The NYPD did not interview the HRA officers for their review, at the request of the Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney.

The two HRA officers involved have been suspended without pay, according to an HRA report. The officers said Headley was the one to escalate the situation, biting an officer and using her baby as a shield. Disciplinary charges will be filed against the HRA officers, which could lead to them being fired. 

What’s next for Jazmine Headley, NYPD?

Jazmine Headley plans to sue the city, she told the Times, to prevent this situation from happening again to anyone else.

“It’s the story of many other people, it’s not just my story,” she said. “My story is the only one that made it to the surface.”

The NYPD plans to review its tactics for officers in situations where someone is holding a young child. The department will also establish guidelines concerning interactions between HRA and NYPD officers, identifying the agency and superviser ultimately in command and with plans to deploy an NYPD supervisor when officers are responding to calls at HRA centers.

NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks is ordering that, going forward, HRA peace officers do not request the intervention of NYPD without first contacting the Center Director or Deputy Director to try to defuse the situation. The department will also retrain all officers, emphasizing de-escalation, within the next 90 days. 

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