'I am just happy to be free': Charges dropped against New York mother whose baby was yanked away
Charges have been dropped against Jazmine Headley.
Jazmine Headley, the New York mother seen in a viral video having her baby ripped from her arms by police officers and security guards, said she's just "happy to be free" after charges against her were dropped.
Headley was released from a jail on Rikers Island after 9 p.m. Tuesday and thanked her supporters outside for their words of encouragement.
"I just want to thank everybody and all the support that I have been getting in New York and all the great people who have been supporting me," she said, after she was released from Rikers Island on her own recognizance. "I haven't gotten to read all the articles and just all the great things and all of the love, and I am accepting it. And I am just so grateful to everyone, and I am just happy to be free, and I just need to see my boy. So, thank you guys."
The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office said earlier on Tuesday that it wouldn't pursue charges against the 23-year-old Headley.
"Continuing to pursue this case will not serve any purpose and I therefore moved today to dismiss it immediately in the interest of justice," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. "Discretion is the better part of valor and we must be thoughtful and compassionate in evaluating the merit of our cases."
Gonzalez said a security guard at the Human Resources Administration office in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon "escalated the situation" that drew New York City police officers into the confrontation, "creating an awful scenario of a baby being torn from his mother."
Gonzalez made the decision to drop the charges after speaking with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"I applaud the DA's decision to do so," de Blasio said Tuesday. "[Headley] should be reunited with her child as soon as possible."
Headley was being held at Rikers on an unrelated warrant out of Mercer County, New Jersey, and she must appear in Mercer County Superior Court on Wednesday to face charges stemming from a 2017 arrest on suspicion of credit card theft.
That warrant was issued by a Mercer County Superior Court judge on July 17, 2017, when Headley failed to appear for an arraignment, Casey DeBlasio, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, told ABC News.
Headley and two alleged accomplices were indicted by a grand jury in March 2017 on felony counts of third-degree credit card theft and fourth-degree identity theft, according to court records. Headley was arrested July 23, 2016, in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, as part of a police investigation into the use of counterfeit credit cards.
Gonzalez's office had said on Monday it was reaching out to New Jersey authorities on behalf of Headley "to expedite her release."
"The consequences this young and desperate mother has already suffered as a result of this arrest far outweigh any conduct that may have led to it: She and her baby have been traumatized, she was jailed on an unrelated warrant and may face additional collateral consequences," Gonzalez said.
NYPD officials said in a statement officers were called to the city Human Resources Administration office in Brooklyn just before 1 p.m. on Friday because of Headley's "disorderly conduct towards others, and for obstructing a hallway."
Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said her office has assigned an attorney to represent Headley, who had gone to the social services office to determine why day care vouchers for her child suddenly were cut off.
The office was crowded and there were no available seats when Headley arrived, so she sat o the floor with her 1-year-old son, Damone, to keep him calm, according to Headley's mother, Jacqueline Jenkins.
Schreibersdorf said Headley took a day off from her job as a security guard to resolve the day care issue, and that she'd been waiting for at least four hours before the incident.
A cellphone video of the incident taken by a witness shows at least three NYPD officers, including a sergeant, and HRA security guards trying to get Headley to release her son.
"They're hurting my son! They're hurting my son!" Headley is heard screaming in the video.
One officer appeared to grab Damone and yank hard several times in an attempt to remove him from Headley's arms. A crowd of people gathered around the officers, yelling for them to stop and trying to explain that Headley wasn't bothering anyone.
At one point, an officer is seen in the video pulling out a stun gun and appearing to point it at the crowd, ordering people to step back. That officer also appeared to point the stun gun at Headley. The device wasn't used.
Police eventually were able to wrest the baby away and arrest Headley. Damone was turned over to Jenkins after the city's Administration for Child Protective Services initially was called.
Police officials said the HRA guards initially were the ones who took Headley to the floor when she refused to leave.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill described the video as "disturbing" and ordered an investigation.
Two HRA peace officers were placed on modified duty as a result of the incident, Steven Banks, commissioner of the city Human Resources Administration, said in a statement Monday evening, adding that he was "deeply troubled by the incident."
ABC News' Julia Jacobo and Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.