With a crowd of onlookers gathered around, New York Police officers encircle a woman and her child on the ground.
One officer reaches down and begins to pull. The officer yanks harder, and harder, and the woman’s cries become louder.
“You’re hurting my son! You’re hurting my son!” she yells.
A tug of war ensues, and as noise from the horrified crowd builds, an officer brandishes a yellow stun gun and begins to point it around the room, a government welfare office in Brooklyn.
The stunning and hectic scene, captured on video and posted to Facebook, ends with the woman in handcuffs escorted from the scene — and her 1-year-old son elsewhere. A family member took custody of the child after the arrest, the NYPD said.
The forceful arrest of the unarmed mother at a social services office has caused a significant backlash, particularly from those who saw it as an unnecessarily violent escalation and a symbol of how the poor are treated in America.
“Being poor is not a crime. The actions of the NYPD in this video are appalling and contemptible,” said Letitia James, the Public Advocate for New York City.
Facing criticism, the NYPD and the New York City Human Resources Administration are now reviewing that December 7 arrest.
“Video images of the incident in the 84th precinct are troubling,” the NYPD said in a statement, adding that the review will “include examination of all available video of the incident.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said the incident was particularly upsetting because it occurred at a location meant to connect the government to people in need.
“The police should not be a tool to further exacerbate a situation between a (member of the) public who is seeking some type of assistance,” Adams said.