Just two months after the recent New York Police Department chokehold killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, another video-recorded incident of NYPD brutality occurred on Sept. 20. When Sandra Amezquita, a pregnant woman, rushed to defend her teenage son, who was being detained by cops in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one of several police present intervened, throwing her belly-first to the ground! The video shows the officer beating Amezquita with a baton, and then tasing her on her belly. The police push another woman so strongly that she rolls over in the street.
Supportive neighbors soon released the video coverage, leaving social media to defend another survivor of police brutality. The mostly working-class and Latino/a community of Sunset Park — which didn’t find this brutality a new experience — quickly mobilized. While the police officer responsible for attacking Amezquita and her supporter was moved to “modified duty” in response to public outrage, community organizers continued to make plans.
The result was a militant, spirited and colorful rally and protest on Sept. 27 that marched 20 blocks to Sunset Park’s 72nd Precinct police headquarters. Supporting Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, Black and white neighbors marched behind the Puerto Rican leadership of this call for “El Grito de [the Shout of] Sunset Park.”
The sexist nature of the attack was mentioned as children were marching with their parents. Juan Ramos of the NYC Congress for Puerto Rican Rights explained that “we’re here to show solidarity … against this systematic problem in New York City.”
These forces will unite again, joined by political groups such as CopWatch and Brooklyn for Peace, for a Sunset Park Town Hall on Sept. 30, where they will demand an end to racist police brutality. In the past week, a cop from the same command was suspended for repeatedly kicking a street vendor who was already subdued. The vendor had been ordered to leave a street and complained that he wasn’t given time to depart.
“No justice! No peace! Stop the racist police!”