The NYPD already has a checkered history of brutality claims, and the most recent incident caught on tape won't help. An amateur video showing NYPD officers pushing a pregnant woman to the ground was posted online Tuesday, prompting an internal affairs investigation. The video may be grainy, but it clearly shows the officers using excessive force on two women.
In the video, five-month-pregnant Sandra Amezquita is shown intervening in the arrest of her 17-year-old son, Jhohan Lemos, on Saturday in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The arresting officer then takes hold of her and pushes her to the ground on her stomach.
When another woman approaches the scene, one of the officers push her so hard that she goes flying into the street. The recorder can be heard yelling, "You broke her arm!" And later, when he gets a better look at Amezquita, he exclaims in shock, "She's pregnant! Oh my God."
The officers from the 72nd Precinct were arresting Lemos for allegedly being in possession of a knife when his mother intervened. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and harassment. His mother, Amezquita, was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.
In these video stills, you can clearly see that Amezquita is pregnant.
That doesn't stop the arresting officer from bringing her to the ground, stomach down.
A second officer joins in restraining her.
When another woman approaches to see what's going on, one of the officers pushes her.
And he pushes her pretty hard.
After handcuffing and forcing Amezquita to the ground, the officers keep her there.
After the incident, Amezquita told the New York Daily News:
You would think the police would respect a woman that is pregnant. I was afraid something happened to my baby. I am still afraid that something is wrong.
According to Dennis Flores of community watch group El Grito De Sunset Park, who posted the video to its Facebook page, Amezquita now has bruises on her belly and has experienced bleeding and complications.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the arrest, it was not OK to push Amezquita to the ground. It doesn't matter if she was intervening with an arrest — there are other ways to subdue her. In fact, it's never, ever OK to push or impose force upon a pregnant woman, crime or no crime.
Understandably, people in the community and beyond are furious.
The NYPD are currently conducting an investigation into the matter, but the damage has been done. Amezquita's attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, told the Associated Press:
It's clear to me when an incident like this occurs you understand why police community relations are at an all-time low.
Presumably, this latest incident has only further deteriorated these relations.
Images: El Grito De Sunset Park/Facebook