The mother whose 1-year-old child was yanked from her arms during a brutal arrest at a Brooklyn benefits office last year will receive $625,000 from the city.
The Law Department confirmed on Friday that a settlement had been reached with Jazmine Headley, who filed suit against the city for an unspecified amount this past summer.
The complaint detailed the "formative incident of trauma," which began as the 23-year-old mother was confronted by Human Resources Administration security guards while waiting to renew her childcare benefits at a Boerum Hill assistance center.
Widely circulated video footage of the encounter showed the 23-year-old mother laying on the ground, surrounded by screaming HRA "peace officers" and two uniformed cops. One of the NYPD officers repeatedly jerks at Headley's baby. He then pulls out his stun gun, waving it at the gathered crowd and distressed mother.
Headley spent fours nights on Rikers Island following the altercation. While those charges were eventually dropped, her son continued to display "changed behaviors after the events, including a diminished appetite, separation anxiety, and difficulty sleeping, and he became more withdrawn," the suit alleged.
In a statement on Friday, mayoral spokesperson Olivia Lapeyrolerie acknowledged that Headley "came to the City seeking help, and we failed to treat her with the dignity and respect she deserved." She said she hoped the settlement should bring a "degree of closure to the family."
The two HRA officers involved in the encounter were suspended. But none of the NYPD officers, including the one seen on video yanking at the child, ever faced discipline; a "strenuous review" conducted by the Internal Affairs Bureau found no wrongdoing on the part of the cops.
De Blasio has refused to call out the police officers directly, and the spokesperson did not say whether the Mayor's Office considers the NYPD's actions part of the "injustice" suffered by Headley.
Instead, the city has highlighted changes made to its public benefits system in the wake of the incident, such as retraining staff in de-escalation techniques and directing them not to request police intervention before seeking a superior. Social Services Commissioner Steve Banks recently announced that all "peace officers" will also be required to wear body cameras by the end of this year.
"While this injustice should have never happened, it forced a reckoning with how we treat our most vulnerable and prompted us to make reforms at HRA Centers across the City," added Lapeyrolerie.