Two New York City “peace officers” were placed on modified duty Monday after they forced a woman holding a one-year-old to the ground at a city agency’s office and removed the boy from her arms with the help of New York police officers, reports the Wall Street Journal. The peace officers work for the city’s Human Resources Administration, and were assigned to a Brooklyn office that administers food stamps. Cellphone video of the incident went viral on social media, prompting demands for a probe into the officers’ actions from politicians, lawyers and advocates. Jazmine Headley, 23, was arrested after the incident on Friday and charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing. The city’s child welfare agency took her son and placed him with a relative.
The cellphone video begins with Headley on the ground, cradling her child and shouting, “They’re hurting my son,” as the officers attempt to pull him away. A raucous crowd of bystanders surround the officers, and at one point, an NYPD officer points a stun-gun at onlookers. Police Commissioner James O’Neill said police are reviewing video of the incident, which he described as “very disturbing.” He said, “It was obviously a very chaotic situation, you can see that in the video. And we have to see what the decision-making process was.” Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, who oversees the agency, said he is “deeply troubled” by the incident and directed de-escalation training for the peace officers and security staff. Headley wemt to the agency to learn why she stopped receiving government assistance with her child care. When there were no seats available, she sat on the floor, prompting a security guard to tell her to move.