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Photo: Mike Catalini/AP/Shutterstock

Why Jazmine Headley’s Pain Is The Symbol of Systemic Abuse That Begins With Law Enforcement

Black women always have to suffer for the gain of others

Jazmine Headley is the 23-year-old Black woman who was physically assaulted back in December 2018, by a gang of uniformed thugs, that were assembled by security guards of a Brooklyn branch of an Human Resources Administration office, who felt the need to raise the alarm on an unarmed mother, who was silently holding her baby son, as she sat on the floor, waiting patiently for assistance.

The crime that was committed was the shamefulness of being a law-abiding, tax-paying Black woman of modest means, who was simply doing the best that she could with the resources at her disposal. She needed to understand why the childcare vouchers had abruptly stopped, and in order to do that, she had to take the day off from work, and bring her child with her, so she could sort out the issue.

The crime that was committed is the the fact that Jazmine Headley is a Black woman, who looks like she’s in her twenties, but to those who specifically target her template during routine traffic stops, that turn deadly or after a misunderstanding with management at The Waffle House, that turns into a violent beatdown, she seems like she’s mature enough to handle harrowing encounters with grown men, armed with guns and fists full of blows.

When the video went viral, the usual response overtook the social media platforms, as online activism went into overdrive on behalf of the frantic mother, who was being revoltingly pulled away from her baby, by assholish police officers who quite frankly should’ve been stripped of their badges for performing the criminal act of child endangerment

Those thugs need to be charged with child endangerment

Jazmine Headley was not only forcefully separated from her visibly traumatized son, but she also had to endure the public humiliation of being carted away like a wild animal to Rikers Island, where she was dumped like garbage, as punishment for past charges of “credit fraud,” and fresh allegations of “resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing.”

Hours later, Headley was released and tearfully reunited with her distressed 1-year-old son. The charges against her were also dropped after the online uproar over the graphically disturbing video erupted into full blown protests over how a young Black mother and her baby were ripped apart for reasons that still haven’t been adequately furnished.

The criminal cops that exacted deadly harm on innocent lives for the sake of maximizing the authority they wielded with bigoted petulance, were inexplicably summoned by cowardly security guards, who wanted a harmless Black woman and her baby removed from the premises because of the sin that was committed when the chairs ran out, and sitting on the floor was the only option.

Months later, and the “trend” was over.

Jazmine Headley’s victory release from prison seemed to confirm that all was well in her world. Thanks to the alighted hashtags, energetic retweets and the viral shares of another Black woman succumbing to the evilness of law enforcement, the victimized mother and child were spared the worst outcome.

But that’s never where it should end.

Months later, and the “trend” is back, with vengeance, as Headley selflessly submits to the reactivation of her heart-wrenching case by granting interviews to major news outlets, and bravely accepting an invite to speak to NYC Council members about the grisly nature of her attack at the HRA offices, and why the national coverage has to extend to permanent solutions.

The young Black mother who was brutally thrown out of the facilities that were set up to provide assistance to keep her afloat, despite daggers of betrayal at every turn, has been graciously granted the opportunity to express the horrors of that awful day, when she was treated like a felon for simply being vulnerable enough to rely on the system as the stepping stone to her ongoing trajectory.

At the end of Headley’s riveting testimony, that shook every person present to the core, the standing ovation was followed by earnest apologies from Council speaker Corey Johnson, who officially recognized the violation that was systematically levied upon an innocent citizen:

“I am similarly deeply, deeply grateful for your bravery, for you wanting to tell your story, for you wanting to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Commissioner of social services, Steven Banks, who was forced to publicly apologize for the terrible offense that transpired within the walls of his station, was also present at the hearing, and seized the opportunity to once again acknowledge the unfathomably tragic treatment that Headley and her child suffered at the hands of badged brutes.

Banks promised that his department would strive to “do more” when it comes to the professional reception that’s bestowed to recipients of welfare, who visit the office to activate or update their cases.

There’s also the exploration of creating 13 bills, that will be implemented to guarantee that future encounters at HRA centers, are appropriately handled by designated workers without the potent interference of police officers, who aren’t capable of seamlessly de-escalating situations upon arrival.

Yes, it was quite heroic of Jazmine Headley to appear before the Council, in an effort to champion much-needed change in a broken system of communication between social workers, the security guards that survey the grounds for trouble, and the innocent citizens who show up to get help and end up leaving in handcuffs to the soundtrack of a wailing baby.

But why is it necessary for Black women and Black children to undergo mandated suffering for the swift gain of others?

Jazmine Headley’s pain is the symbol of systemic abuse that begins and ends with law enforcement.

While it’s wonderful to contemplate how the disastrous event that catapulted a once unknown New Yorker to unwarranted fame for reasons that will forever haunt, has the strong capacity to realize tangible improvements for the betterment of the future — we can’t avoid the blatant omission of the police force in this dramatic scenario.

There can’t be any justice for Jazmine Headley and her baby boy, until the cops that attacked them are relieved of their duties, and charged with child endangerment.

The notion that the badged thugs depicted in the graphically violent video, are still able to patrol the streets of America without issue, infuriatingly proves how police officers are still able to get away with murder without suffering the consequences for their recklessly dangerous actions.

Police brutality is not a new concept, and in the age of documenting and sharing, we’ve all seen enough viral content to last a lifetime. The footage always contains the evidence of how Black bodies are mutilated by a hail of bullets or the relentless pummeling that overwhelms the Black girl in a dress, that’s been demeaningly hiked up to reveal the parts she’s desperately trying to hide.

Why aren’t we addressing the focal issue of the violence against Black women and Black children at the hands of those who took an oath to uphold the law?

We can readily institute newly-minted laws, that will turn offices catering to the vulnerable crowd into havens of functionality that are driven by law and order. But what happens when the crowd disperses and pours into the streets, where lawlessness abides under the supremacy of bigoted cops?

Who will protect the lives that don’t stand a chance against a monstrous machine that thrives off of the brutality exacted on those who are aesthetically doomed?

Who will make sure that police officers are re-trained to absorb the fundamentals of their duties as neighborhood protectors, as opposed to armed soldiers, who are primed to terrorize those that are deemed a threat to hapless security guards in an overly-crowded office?

If the problem persists, and Black lives continue to hang in the balance, waiting to be added to piled hashtags, that are still pending the justice that will never come, doesn’t it make sense to laser in on the epicenter of our societal discontent, instead of postponing the inevitable?

Jazmine Headley was eloquent about the fact that it was the violent treatment that she received from the cops that blew her mind. She had done absolutely nothing to incite ire from the stupid guards, who knew what would happen once the cops were called, and yet felt it was justified to endanger a young Black mother and her child because she was poor enough for that punishment.

Law enforcement has to re-examine and re-define the mission statement that permits the systemic brutality that is disproportionality carried out in communities that have been historically designated as the goldmine for the nefarious quota system.

But most importantly, there has to be a reckoning that flushes out corrupt police officers who operate on the currency of gross negligence with the power that affords them the audacity to physically assault Black women who are unarmed and innocent until proven guilty.

And until those cops are punished for their crimes, and used as the supreme example of what can happen when instances like that occur, there will be no justice for Sandra Bland, Breaion King, Chikesia Clemons, or Jazmine Headley or future victims, who will have to endure the nightmare that they may or may not survive.

Malcolm X:

The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.

If you think that’s a myth — then check this out:

Jazmine Headley’s pain is every Black woman’s torment, and we applaud her willingness to be the strong Black woman, who can gracefully handled her emotional and physical assault without sinking into a torrent of tears or ceremoniously amassing societal coddling from bigoted influencers.

But we also need to demand that the reign of the “strong Black woman” be toppled by the instinctive acknowledgment of her worth and the dignified response to the challenges that never require her to be stuck in a headlock or ripped away from her screaming baby.

We demand #JusticeForJazmineHeadley

Written by

Juggling Wordsmith. I have a lot to say!

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