September 24, 2014 |
Early Saturday morning, the NYPD’s 72nd Precinct in Brooklyn was attempting to arrest Sandra Amezquita’s 17-year-old son, Jhohan Lemos. Amezquita, who is five months pregnant, intervened in the police altercation because she believed they were unfairly targeting her son and using excessive force. Police quickly manhandled her, eventually shoving her to the ground, belly first.
The incident was captured on video with a cell phone. You can see officers take down Amezquita and then throw another woman, who was rushing over to her, to the ground.
Dennis Flores, a member of a local police watch group El Grito de Sunset Park, told ABC News:
“What we see is a woman who’s trying to protect her son, who is being stopped and frisked by police, and she became a victim. Slammed onto the floor … Her belly is now with black and blue bruises. She’s bleeding and she’s having complications.”
Amezquita’s lawyer Sanford Rubenstein told the Associated Press that there’s “no way to tell” if the baby is harmed. He added that “It’s clear to me when an incident like this occurs you understand why police community relations are at an all-time low.”
The incident comes less than a week after the same NYPD Precinct was caught on video kicking a street vendor on the ground. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton eventually admitted that the use of force was “totally unprovoked.”
And in terms of using force against pregnant women, this is surely not an NYPD first. Just last month, officers were caught putting a woman who was seven months pregnant in a chokehold. This is despite the fact that chokeholds have been banned in the NYPD for 20 years.
Police said Lemos was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and harassment. Amezquita was charged with disorderly conduct. Her husband was charged with assaulting an officer while trying to intervene.
A video of taken of the family a day after the incident shows scrapes on Amezquita’s belly and bruises on Lemos’ face. Chief Police Spokesman Steve Davis told the Associated Press that internal affairs will be investigating the incident.