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The charges against a Brooklyn mom arrested at a food stamps office were dropped, but she’s still in jail

The 23-year-old mother was brutally arrested in an incident caught on video, prompting leaders across the city to speak out against her treatment.

by Emma Ockerman
Dec 11 2018, 5:28pm

Five days after 23-year-old Jazmine Headley was brutally arrested in a Brooklyn public services office as she clutched her one-year-old son, she remains in jail at Rikers Island, according to online corrections records. And even though the Brooklyn District Attorney dropped the related charges against Headley on Tuesday and Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for her release, it’s still unclear when she’ll go free.

On Friday, at least seven New York City police officers tried to rip Headley’s son from her arms as she lay on the floor of a Human Resources Administration office in Brooklyn, a facility for food stamp and voucher collection. The incident apparently began after she sat down on the floor because there were no chairs available in the crowded office, where she had been waiting for several hours. Headley was told she had to stand and grew upset, prompting a security guard at the facility to call the police. A bystander filmed the arrest, and the video quickly went viral.

Almost immediately, agencies and top officials across the city began calling for a review of the incident and for the resulting charges against her to be dropped completely. "She should be reunited with her child as soon as possible," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

On Tuesday morning, Brooklyn’s District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the charges had been dropped in a statement posted to Twitter. “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 “It is clear to me that the incident should have been handled differently.”

But according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Headley is still in custody because of an outstanding warrant from Mercer County, New Jersey. Casey DeBlasio, spokesperson for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, said in an email that the warrant stems from Headley failing to show up for an arraignment in July 2017. Headley was charged with credit card theft and trafficking in personal identifying information earlier that year.

Scott Hechinger, attorney and director of policy at Brooklyn Defender Services, which is representing Headley, wrote on Twitter that attorneys have filed an emergency writ to demand her immediate release. A GoFundMe to cover her child care, organized by Brooklyn Defender Services, has since raised nearly $8,000.

Cover screenshot via Facebook

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