Wall Street Journal
September 25, 2014


Officers' Actions Probed in Arrest of Pregnant Woman

NYPD to Investigate Excessive-Force Claim

By PERVAIZ SHALLWANI

The police department's Internal Affairs unit is investigating whether officers used excessive force when they brought a pregnant woman to the ground, stomach first, during an altercation in Brooklyn this weekend.

The takedown occurred as Sandra Amezquita, 44 years old, was being arrested for interfering with officers apprehending her 17-year-old son on criminal weapons charges Saturday, police said.

Ms. Amezquita, who is five months pregnant, was given a summons for disorderly conduct.

A witness shot video of the incident, which occurred in Brooklyn's Sunset Park, and posted it on Facebook. It was shared more than 3,600 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

The two-minute video shows Ms. Amezquita struggling with the officers before they bring her to the ground and put her in handcuffs. The video also shows an officer pushing another woman to the ground who appeared to be coming to Ms. Amezquita's aid.

The women retained attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who filed an excessive-force complaint against the New York Police Department on their behalf, prompting the internal investigation. He said the second woman, Mercedes Hidalgo, was attempting to tell police that Ms. Amezquita is pregnant.

"After watching the video, the question now is that how could a pregnant woman and an innocent bystander be assaulted like this by police in this city?" Mr. Rubenstein said.

"I'm afraid of what might happen to my baby," Ms. Amezquita said through an interpreter.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union that represents the officers, said the video doesn't show the lead-up to Ms. Amezquita's arrest.