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'Troubling' video shows NY police grabbing child from mum

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Media captionVideo shows NYPD grabbing child from mum

New York City police are investigating an incident in which officers grabbed a baby from a mother during an arrest in Brooklyn.

The video, shared on Facebook on Friday, shows police dragging 23-year-old Jazmine Headley across a floor as she yells: "They're hurting my son."

She was arrested for refusing to leave a social services centre, police say.

City public officials have condemned the actions and demanded answers from the police department.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed that the department and Human Resources Administration (HRA) police have opened a review into the incident, in a statement emailed to the BBC.

NYPD said the footage was "troubling" and the review will "include examination of all available video of the incident".

The Facebook video has since received over 200,000 views and sparked public outrage over yet another case of alleged police brutality.

The incident began on Friday at an HRA office in Brooklyn, where residents can apply for public assistance services like food stamps.

Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, told reporters on Monday that Ms Headley had been waiting at the office for four hours to sort out daycare for her son.

Ms Headley took a seat on the floor with her baby as there were no chairs, Ms Schreibersdorf said. A security guard asked her to move but there was nowhere to go.

The two broke into a row and the guard called the cops.

The NYPD officers on scene also asked Ms Headley to leave "numerous times", the police statement said.

When she refused again, HRA peace officers dragged her to the floor as police attempted to arrest her.

In the recording, officers can be seen grabbing at Ms Headley's baby, trying to pull him out of her arms as they restrain her. She shouts repeatedly: "They're hurting my son."

An officer then points what appears to be a taser at Ms Headley as she says, "I'm begging you."

Eventually, the 23-year-old mother is escorted out by by several officers. No officers were injured in the incident.

New York City public officials have criticised the officers' actions and called for answers from the department.

At a news conference on Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams denounced the incident, calling it a "blemish on our entire city".

"There is no police procedure that would require police officers responding to a dispute to yank a child out of a mother's hands unless that child was in immediate danger," he said, questioning why trained officers or social workers could not de-escalate the situation.

"It was not a violent crime, it was about a conversation. It was about, 'let's find this woman a chair. Talk to her. She's a human being.'"

Ms Schreibersdorf described the arrest as a "violent encounter where the child was being used as a pawn".

"The escalation of this not only points out something very disturbing about the police and police solutions to these incidences, but it highlights how easily one decision to arrest somebody can fan out and create so many consequences for a family."

She thanked those who filmed the incident and emphasised that many poor people in New York City go through similarly violent arrests with police despite committing no serious crime.

On Twitter New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the behaviour was "unacceptable, appalling and heartbreaking".

New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James said: "No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in the video".

"Being poor is not a crime," Ms James tweeted. "There must be a full investigation and the results made public."

Police say Ms Headley has been charged with several misdemeanours: resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, criminal trespass, and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

She is in police custody at Riker's Island and officials say her child is in the care of a family member. Ms Headley declined medical treatment for herself and her son following the arrest.

Her court date has been set for 13 December, according to booking records.

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