NYPD probes treatment of pregnant woman

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2014 8:55 PM
NYPD probes treatment of pregnant woman

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City police are investigating an altercation between officers and a pregnant woman that was captured on amateur video, officials said Wednesday.

The video shows an officer struggling with a woman who police say tried to intervene in the arrest of her 17-year-old son early Saturday morning in Brooklyn. The woman is taken to the ground on her stomach by an officer.

Sandra Amezquita was asking police to "stop using excessive force" on her teenage son when the altercation happened around 2:15 a.m., said her attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.

A man can be heard on the video yelling, "Oh my God, she's pregnant."

"I'm afraid of what is going to happen to my baby. I pray to God nothing happens to him," Amezquita, who is about 5 months pregnant, said through an interpreter at a press conference.

Rubenstein said the family plans to meet Monday with prosecutors. The Brooklyn district attorney's office said it could not immediately confirm that, but spokeswoman Helen Peterson did say "all aspects" of the case were being reviewed.

Rubenstein said Amezquita had a mark on her stomach and he wants the DA to look into whether she was hit with an object.

"It's clear to me when an incident like this occurs you understand why police community relations are at an all-time low," the attorney said earlier Wednesday.

Internal affairs investigators are looking into the matter, said chief police spokesman Steve Davis.

Rubenstein said another woman who walked over to see what was happening also was thrown to the ground by police; Amezquita's husband was also hurt.

The lawyer said doctors told Amezquita "there's no way to tell" if the fetus was harmed.

Police identified the teen as Jhohan Lemos. He was charged with weapon possession, resisting arrest and harassment. Police said he was carrying an illegal knife and has been arrested five times, including for gang assault and robbery.

Amezquita received a summons for disorderly conduct. Two other men were charged with assault, resisting arrest and other charges.

A neighbor, Mercedes Hidalgo, said at the press conference that she was pushed when she tried to tell officers that Amezquita was pregnant.

Last week, another officer from the same precinct was suspended after a video appeared to show him kicking a street fair vendor and walking away.

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Associated Press Writers Ula Ilnytzky and Colleen Long contributed to this report.