Last Thursday, the Civilian Complaint Review Board ruled that four NYPD officers from Sunset Park's 72nd Precinct used excessive force last September when they violently arrested five residents, one of whom, Sandra Amezquita, was five months pregnant. At a press conference yesterday Amezquita said that the officers' punishment recommended by the CCRB, a loss of five days vacation plus formal retraining, was insufficient.

"I want there to be real discipline for these officers, because all I want is justice," Amezquita told reporters.

Complaints against the officers were officially filed after El Grito de Sunset Park posted video evidence online. The residents had attempted to intervene in the arrest of Jhohan Lemos, the older son of Amezquita who is rumored to have been targeted directly by police.

Amezquita, who is seen in the video being restrained by an officer, who then falls on top of her, expressed concern at the time for the wellbeing of her unborn son, citing bruises on her torso and vaginal bleeding.

One of the other residents involved in the incident, Secundio Payaps, discovered he would need surgery for a broken elbow.

Payaps, Amezquita, and a third resident involved in the incident, Mercedes Hidalgo, all attended the press conference in the Midtown office of Amezquita's lawyer, Norman Siegel. Amezquita is suing the city in federal court.

"For me, this just seems like a slap on the wrist," said Siegel of the CCRB's decision. "I respect due process rights for the officers, but they will never even be going to trial."

Siegel declined to share details of seven month-old Kevin Amezquita's health status before the scheduled September 17th court date. When asked about her older son, whom she had been defending at the time of her arrest and assault, Amezquita answered that he was studying, working, and living at home.

Jason de Aguila, an activist for El Grito de Sunset Park, said that the CCRB's recommendation "echoes in our community that officers are above the law, and when news like this gets out, it just reinforces that belief. Any civilian without a badge would not have been treated the same way for assaulting someone like this."

In a phone interview this morning, CCRB chair Richard Emery defended the board's recommendation, and said that Amezquita's attorney "sabotaged the CCRB's process."

"What Norman Siegel is saying about the determination that he released publicly is strange and odd given the fact that he instructed the client to not participate in the process of investigation," Emery said. "Rather than to address the police misconduct in this case, he opted to strategize to enhance the monetary award for the individual he's representing and himself."

Emery said that because Siegel never turned over his client's medical records, "We were operating with one hand behind our back."

The CCRB's recommendation is not binding on the NYPD; the police commissioner can (and often does) overrule it.