The New York City Police Department is investigating reports that officers used excessive force against a pregnant woman during an altercation over the weekend in a heavily-Latino neighborhood in Brooklyn.
A video of the incident that surfaced online shows NYPD officers throwing the woman – who is six months pregnant – to the ground, where she lands on her stomach and is then physically restrained by a police officer who sits on top of her.
The incident was spurred on by NYPD attempts to apprehend a man allegedly in possession of a gravity knife (a knife with a blade contained in its handle), which is illegal in New York City, when the pregnant woman and other family members of the man intervened, police sources told local news outlets.
Dennis Flores of El Grito De Sunset Park, an advocacy group, posted the video on the group’s Facebook page on Sunday and said the woman was eating dinner at a nearby restaurant prior to the arrest. Flores and police did not identify the woman in the video.
“These cops need to be fired,” Flores told PIX11 News.
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PIX11 News reported that the woman was cited for disorderly conduct and is recovering from the incident but there are some complications, according to her attorney Sanford Rubenstein.
“What happened is appalling and should not be happening in New York City,” Rubenstein said. “These videos are pictures of the truth and those who take them are performing a public service.”
Rubenstein is also the lawyer for the family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island father who died in August after being put into a chokehold by an NYPD officer.
Sunday’s incident is the latest in a string of excessive force claims brought against the NYPD since the summer, with a number of them occurring Brooklyn’s Hispanic-enclave of Sunset Park. The video of the pregnant woman being thrown to the ground comes less than a week after an NYPD officer allegedly kicked a street vendor in the back during an altercation at a Sunset Park street festival.
“What we are seeing here is a group of officers that are acting more like criminals instead of people that are here to protect us and serve the interest of the people in this neighborhood,” Flores said.