NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Questions have been mounting since the release of a video showing police throwing a pregnant woman onto the ground in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
As CBS 2’s Matt Kozar reported, the woman, Sandra Amezquita, said she is now worried for her unborn son. But questions have also mounted for those in the middle of the violent encounter.
The NYPD has launched an internal investigation into the confrontation early this past Saturday, which was caught on a cell phone camera.
In the video, an officer is seen throwing Amezquita, who is about five months pregnant, to the ground. He then straddles her body while her abdomen is pressed against the pavement, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported. The video also shows officers throwing another woman to the ground after she tried to interfere.
The struggle unfolded around 1 a.m. Saturday on Fifth Avenue near 40th Street outside the El Tesoro Ecuatoriano Restaurant on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park.
Amezquita said she hit the ground, belly first, when police took her into custody.
“They were beating my son and I went to console him,” she said.
Speaking through an interpreter, Amezquita, 44, said she was trying to stop police from arresting her teenage son, Jhohan Lemos, who she said was being targeted.
“I’m afraid of what happen to my baby,” she said. “I pray to God that nothing happens to him.”
In a YouTube video, Amezquita showed a cut to her belly that her attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, came from a police baton called an ASP.
“She was doing nothing wrong, an innocent victim. And certainly a pregnant woman—any woman—should not be treated the way she was,” Rubenstein said at a news conference Wednesday.
Dennis Flores, of the local police watch group El Grito de Sunset Park, said Amezquita was trying to stop police from harassing her teenage son for his prior robbery arrest from a year ago.
Lemos claimed she was beaten by police while he was arrested.
Police say they stopped Lemos because he had a gravity knife clipped to his pants. It is an illegal weapon similar to a switch blade.
Sources told CBS 2 two plainclothes anti-crime officers spotted Lemos carrying the illegal knife and tried to arrest him, but he took off running.
The teen is no stranger to the law. He has been arrested twice before for robbery and gang assault.