(NEW YORK) — New York City police are reviewing a video of an altercation between a visibly pregnant mother and an officer in which the woman falls belly-down on the ground as the officer holds her arms behind her back.
Cellphone video footage of the incident shows a police officer struggling with Sandra Amezquita from behind by holding her arms behind her back as she falls and lands face down on the ground. At one point, the officer appears to have his knee on her back.
The NYPD told ABC News Wednesday that the incident is being reviewed by the Internal Affairs Bureau.
The police handling of the confrontation, which began with the frisking of Amezquita’s teenage son, is being criticized.
“What we saw in that gruesome video is a woman who’s trying to protect her son, who is being stopped and frisked by police, and she herself became a victim, slammed onto the floor,” local activist Dennis Flores told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.
“Her belly is now with black-and-blue bruises,” Flores said.
The altercation took place at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Police said that they observed that Amezquita’s 17-year-old son Jhohan Lemos had a gravity knife clipped to his pants.
It is unclear how the incident turned violent, but the video shows Amezquita, 43, and the teen’s father, Ronel Lemos, 50, confronting police in the middle of the street.
Police gave Amezquita a summons for disorderly conduct, but both her husband and her son now face criminal charges. Ronel Lemos has been charged with assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration and harassment. Jhohen Lemos was charged with criminal possession, resisting arrest, and harassment.
“After watching the video, the question which has to be asked is how can a pregnant woman and innocent bystanders be assaulted like this by police in New York City?” Amezquita’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, said in a press release. “It is incidents like this that are the reason for police community relations to be at an all time low in this city.”
Rubenstein and Amezquita are expected to tell her side of the story at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
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