New York City officials approved a settlement to resolve a complaint concerning a 23-year-old mother’s traumatic and wrongful arrest. The 2018 incident involving several law enforcement officers resulted in the young woman spending four days in jail when the detainment should never have occurred. 

After the young mother grew tired of waiting for nearly three hours at a Brooklyn public benefits office, she sat on the floor with her one-year-old son in her arms. A security officer allegedly approached her and asked her to get up. Exhausted from standing and waiting so long, she refused the officer’s order. Several other officers then came over and attempted to remove her son from her arms while she hung on to him in defense. 

Incident captured on video proves fault 

Another individual in the waiting room recorded the incident on her mobile device and uploaded it to the internet; it soon went viral. The footage shows the woman screaming while hanging on to her son. Several officers violently arrested the young mother and filed numerous criminal charges including child endangerment, resisting arrest, trespassing and obstructing government administration. 

Mistreated woman files legal complaint against New York City 

After the woman had spent four days incarcerated at Riker’s Island, the Brooklyn District Attorney dropped the charges against her. She then filed a legal action claiming that she and her son suffered serious and lasting emotional trauma because of their violent experience. In response to her suit, the city approved a $625,000 settlement. As reported by the New York Daily News, the incident and its outcome also prompted apologies from prominent city officials including the mayor. 

Wrongful arrest violates U.S. Constitutional rights 

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects every individual’s right from an unlawful arrest or violent confinement. For a lawful arrest to take place, officials must prove probable cause that an individual engaged in an unlawful act. Misconduct by law enforcement officials that results in a violation of rights may require legal action to raise awareness of the issue and obtain fair and just compensation for the mistreated individual.