Yes, that is the baby’s head that cop is palming.
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn And Inwood, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.
The scene was at a Human Resources Administration office in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. A mother with her 1-year-old child along with many others were waiting four hours to get assistance to get or recover SNAP benefits that were suddenly denied to them.
Reportedly, the woman, Jazmine Headley was there addressing her difficulty getting a work voucher and SNAP benefits was frustrated about her desperate situation that it led to an argument between her and the HRA staffers.
Compounding this fracas, the place was so crowded with people waiting for over four hours to get help that HRA apparently (or allegedly) ran out of chairs, leading Ms. Headley and her child no choice but to sit on the floor against the wall, which apparently didn’t sit well with the authority figures there, who then ordered HRA’s contractor security guards to command her to get up. When the Ms. Headley profusely refused they called 911 and have some police officers bounce her and her child out. Then all hell broke loose.
The video is a veritable play by play of current arbitrary police procedure. Although violently pulling an infant is a new one. How the cop managed to physically tear that kid from her mother’s arms while she was prone on the ground with 3 other cops wrestling her and not breaking his body can be considered a miracle and also if there is a NYPD training session with a doll for this type of situation. Another new one is pulling a taser and pointing it at the horrified crowd. But the usual method is in play here, like having cops or agents (like those two wearing suits) act as a shield to prevent witnesses from filming with cellphones.
The woman was eventually arrested and was quickly put through the justice system. As she faced a judge it was not only for resisting arrest and other charges brought about from the struggle with police, but also a warrant over her use of another person’s credit card. Then she was sent to Rikers Island.
This grotesque and cruel incident has gives the impression that being poor and complaining about being denied due benefits, as well as sitting on the floor against the wall in a spacious room, is now a crime in New York City.
But new information has come out in the aftermath and it has actually made this look worse for all individuals involved, and it doesn’t seem that an incident like this can even be preventable in the near future.
Being justifiably frustrated and pissed off about her SNAP benefits vanishing and missing a day at work at a job she just got and not being able to get a sitter for her child, Ms. Headley was inconsolable and took out her frustration on the HRA peace officers and workers there by profusely cursing them out. It turned out that they had spare chairs and the child was in a stroller but she refused them in a mixture of protest and spite and wound up sitting on the floor with her son.
Then the cops showed up and in another video from the front angle showed how the brutal wresting of the child began. At first it was calm has the woman was lying down on the floor protecting her baby, then the ill-thought procedure commenced and it gets worse from there. Where you can see the three cops trying to pry the child from the mother’s arms who continues to resist. You can also see the HRA agent aggressively pulled the mother’s arms and also the mother’s terrible misjudgement of wrapping her legs around and also hitting her son on the head in a vain attempt to stop them from taking him. Ms. Headly also bit the guards who tried to detain her prior to the cops showing up.
Despite the later reports on Ms. Headley and the phsyical risk she inflicted on her child, it still does not compare to the arbitrary, callous and crass handling of her situation. That is still a one-year-old child. A fragile human being. The way to handle it would have been to exercise patience and continue to talk to her and persuade her to settle down. It would have taken a while but she would have probably calmed down if they convinced her about putting her child at risk by not cooperating. Besides, it wasn’t like there was any progress going on at that SNAP center if hundreds were already waiting to be served.
But nothing can beat the half-assed empathy statements and obligatory indignation from top city officials:
From NYPD Commissioner O’Neal: “Thank goodness nobody was hurt, or at least at the time nobody reported any injuries” (What he meant to say: Thank goodness nobody reported any injuries)
From Mayor de Blasio, who noted how disturbed he was when he saw the footage, and deferred to the NYPD and HRA to get to the “bottom of it”, once again gutlessly passing the buck and shirking responsibility, leadership. And also judgement, because that HRA center security guards are provided by FJC Securities, which is already in hot water for their coverup of a man getting beat down by their guards in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn.
And most notably, the scornful avoidance and willful ignorance of the incident as shown by the pseudo-official wife of the mayor, co-mayor Chirlane McCray. As a reporter tried to question her, a woman (who was either one of her overpaid aides or a cop doing security) shoved her and made sure she kept a steady and long distance from the so-called feminist and tireless advocate for women.
As for the authority figures involved in the melee’, the two HRA security guards who initially were dealing with Ms. Headley’s frustration and her volatile actions wound being suspended for a month and the cops involved with the physical extraction of the child and pulled a taser out to make the crowd disperse who were filming it will not face any disciplinary action. And also will not be identified because of the 50A provision civil rights law being profusely exploited by the NYPD to protect misbehaving and rogue cops.
The biggest tragic irony behind this is provided by well-meaning and tech-worshipping incompetent city officials. As the head honcho at HRA, Steven Banks, decided to make applying for and conducting benefit transfers for SNAP benefits through online applying through an app despite the fact that Trump and the Republican House have devoured funding from the program through draconian budget cuts which has rendered this convenience for millions of citizens who applied online for this arrangement being left in the lurch. As for SNAP, well that funding had to be diverted to pay for the oligarch welfare tax cut bill that was ratified last year by the wealthy hedonist Congressional and Senate officials and signed by the Sharpie-wielding President and also to the Pentagon for another 700+ billion dollars for the war on terror and now cyberwarfare.
Despite the booming economy, this money has not trickled down to those who need services the most, notably the working poor, who are having trouble buying food combined with the astronomically inflated rising cost of living in the five boroughs. Which includes the hundreds at Boerum Hill waiting for the aid they expected and those who suddenly had them ripped from them without notice.
Which now also includes a man who was recently victimized by government inaction and decided he was not going to take it anymore. At an HRA center in Inwood in Manhattan, Davaun Fournillier destroyed a laptop belonging to a worker while demanding to have his benefits restored and made sure to remind the staff there that “we’re not in Brooklyn” in obvious reference to the chaotic incident just a barely over a week agothen broke the wrist of a HRA guard who tried to handcuff him and detained him for the cops to arrive. When they cops showed up, they did nothing because they “didn’t know what to do”, even though Mr. Fournillier’s daughter was alone in another room waiting and they wouldn’t even call ACS or notify the child’s mom. Ironically, the prior incident in Boerum Hill has made the NYPD virtually handcuffed to respond to emergency situations at welfare offices. Not ironic and what is now atypical NYPD procedure, is that cop who said that and did not help identity’s also not being disclosed to the public.
This year of 2018 has bared witness to a lot of dystopian systematic bullshit and incompetence embedded in our government services that to summarize it would take a massive tome or 5 GB PDF file. But what happened this December at two welfare offices might have to suffice for now. And it may just be the genesis of a burgeoning insurrection that will unfold if this doesn’t get staunched. For what Ms. Headly did when she also endangered her child and what Mr. Fournillier did when he took his rage out on and assaulted that security officer which has made his personal situation even more dire now that he is facing charges and fines, were acts of resistance towards a broken unfair system still favoring the most wealthy and powerful, enabled by opportunistic selfish politicians who are using people hired to enforce the laws and maintain order as cudgels to defend these fugazi bureaucracies as taxpayer funded services continue to lag for people to desperate and to dependent on their stagnating paychecks and trying to survive under crushing economic inequities to live in NYC to fight back.
#GiletsJaunes (yet), but it’s a telling start.