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Pregnant Woman Shoved by Police Officer Calls for Criminal Investigation

By Nikhita Venugopal | September 24, 2014 5:33pm
 Amezquita, a woman who is five months pregnant, spoke out during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at her attorney Sandford Rubenstein's office in Brooklyn Heights.
Sandra Amezquita
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A pregnant woman who claims she was thrown to the ground by a police officer in Sunset Park is calling for a criminal investigation of the officers caught on video.

Sandra Amezquita, who is five months pregnant, was slammed on the ground while a police officer attempted to cuff her on Fifth Avenue near 41st Street early Saturday morning, her attorney and civil rights lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said Wednesday.

The incident was captured on video and shows Amezquita landing on her stomach while officers attempt to restrain and arrest her.

Amezquita now fears for the safety of her unborn child after experiencing bruising from the incident.

“I’m praying that my baby is born healthy,” she said in Spanish, speaking via a translator at Rubenstein’s Brooklyn Heights office.

The video then shows Mercedes Hidalgo, a friend and neighbor, rushing over to the police officers moments later to tell them Amezquita is pregnant, Hidalgo said.

But Hidalgo was shoved aside by an officer and is seen stumbling on the ground in the video.

“All they did was throw me away,” said Hidalgo in Spanish, breaking down during the press conference.

The two women, along with Amezquita's son and husband, are calling for the Kings County District Attorney's Office to launch a criminal investigation into the actions of the police officers.

Rubenstein said he believes officers used an “ASP,” a type of baton, to strike Amezquita in the stomach and leave her with bruises.

He noted that Amezquita suffered from vaginal bleeding after the incident and was taken to a hospital. Her baby is due on Jan. 10.

“She is concerned that her baby could be sick,” Rubenstein explained, without saying whether a physician checked on the health of her child. “A pregnant woman. This should not be happening in this city.”

The altercation took place on Sept. 20 after Amezquita’s 17-year-old son Jhohan Lemos was arrested for possession of a gravity knife, according to Rubenstein and sources. His parents intervened in the teen’s arrest, resulting in the clash recorded on video.

Lemos was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and harassment, sources said. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13.

The teen suffered bruises to his face and ear during the arrest, said Rubenstein, who showed photos of Lemos’ injuries.

The video comes just a week after an officer from the 72nd Precinct was suspended for kicking a street vendor in the back during a clash at a street festival in Sunset Park.

“Certainly it demonstrates why police-community relations in this city are at an all-time low,” Rubenstein said.

The NYPD is investigating the video that was first posted on Facebook by El Grito De Sunset Park, a local police watch group.