The lawyer for a pregnant woman subdued by NYPD officers in Sunset Park as she tried to intervene in her son’s arrest said his client is concerned for her unborn child and wants a criminal investigation of the videotaped encounter.
Sanford Rubenstein, who represents Sandra Amezquita, 44, five months pregnant, called for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office investigate the matter. The incident is under investigation by the internal affairs bureau, police said.
“There's no question that police-community relations are at an all-time low in this city because of the actions of police officers,” Rubenstein said yesterday at a news conference at his Brooklyn office attended by Amezquita.
“If you look at the video and you look at the marks on her abdomen, it appears that an asp, which is a new type of baton, was used on her body by a police officer — on her stomach, a pregnant woman. That is unacceptable.”
In video of the confrontation near the corner of 5th Avenue and 41st Streer, Amezquita is seen falling to the ground with officers and being held on her stomach there. Seconds later, another woman, Mercedes Hidalgo, runs up to her and is quickly pushed to the side, rolling off into the street.
“They were beating my son and I went to console him,” Amezquita said through a Spanish-language interpreter at the news conference.
Amezquita, who was not arrested, said she is “praying nothing happens to the baby.”
At the moment Amezquita got involved, officers from the 72nd Precinct were attempting to arrest her son, Jhohan Lemos, for carrying a gravity knife clipped to his pants, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
Lemos waved his arms and pushed an officer, according to the complaint.
Johan Lemos was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and harassment. He was held without bail at his arraignment, according to the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
His father, Ronel Lemos, 50, and another man, Secundin Payamps, 46, were charged with assault, obstructing governmental administration and harassment, after they punched officers and threw them to the ground, according to the NYPD and the criminal complaint.
They were both released without bail.
The video sparked outrage on El Grito De Sunset Park's Facebook page, the community group that posted it. It garnered more than 3,000 shares and scores of comments.