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NYPD Got Violent to Stop Filming, Family Says

BROOKLYN (CN) - Officers made a pile of snow and shoved it into a New Yorker's face after she tried to film the arrest of her brother whom they had just shot, a family says in Federal Court.

Hina Rizvi and her adult daughter, Nimra Khawaja, say they ran out of their Jamaica Estates apartment on Jan. 5, 2014, after getting a call saying that a plain-clothed Nassau County police officer had shot Muhammad Ali, Rizvi's son and Khwaja's brother, in the chest.

It was about 4 p.m., and Ali was out celebrating his 21st birthday, according to the complaint.

Even though shot Ali was shot "near his heart and other vital organs," officers handcuffed and pushed him against the hood of a police car, the complaint states.

Khawaja says she tried to film the incident on her cellphone, but cops grabbed her and threw her phone away, sending her face-first "onto the snowy ground."

She says officers then began to shovel snow into a mound and "shoved snow directly into her mouth."

Khawaja allegedly told officers that she couldn't breathe, and in that moment, "felt like she was going to die."

"None of the other police officers intervened," according to the 20-page complaint.

The ambulance that Khawaja summoned allegedly did not come for more than 15 minutes.

As police kept Khawaja sitting in the snow, her mouth bruised and with her front teeth chipped because of the excessive force, they forbade the woman's sister from getting boots for her.

They put the sisters and their mother in handcuffs, and placed them in three different police cars.

Because Rizvi's 11-year-old daughter was now home alone, officers allegedly got the girl and put her in a fourth police car.

The family seeks damages for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress and negligence.

Charges of disorderly conduct against all three women were dismissed, they say.

A spokeswoman with the Suffolk County Police Department declined to comment Tuesday. The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed by Joanne Dwyer.

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