NEWS AMERICAS, SCHENECTADY, NY, Weds. July 8, 2020: A Schenectady-based Guyanese immigrant has become the latest victim of US police brutality as a lengthier video of an arrest showed a city police officer appearing to kneel on his neck, in a move similar to that which killed George Floyd.
New footage, according to the Schenectady Daily Gazette, shows the officer punching Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud six times, his knee on the neck of the suspect as Gaindarpersaud wailed and writhed Monday on a concrete slab.
Gaindarpersaud, 31, a member of the upstate city’s Guyanese community, told the Daily Gazette that he was stopped Monday by police investigating a report that his neighbor’s tires had been slashed.
He said he told the unidentified officer to provide evidence and began walking away.
“Put your hands behind your back!” the cop orders as he pulls out a pair of handcuffs, according to the footage shot by the man’s father, Jaindra, who was ordered to move back during the encounter.
“Put your hands behind your [expletive] back!” the officer yells as he lifts Yugeshwar’s leg and begins punching him in the torso as he appears not to move.
As the officer delivers the blows, his father and wife yell in protest.
“You got the foot on his head!” Jaindra shouts. “You’ve got the foot on his head!”
City police have declined to identify the officer.
The father told the Gazette: “He stopped breathing and he was not moving and when he pinned him to the ground, he was not moving anymore, so I said, ‘He’s going to die just like George Floyd.’”
Yugeshwar said the officer’s “whole body weight was smashing my head into the concrete. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move.”
Two additional officers finally show up and place him in handcuffs. Only then does the first cop remove his knee from Gaindarpersaud’s neck area.
After being placed in a police car, he said, he blacked out.
“When I woke up, I was in Ellis Hospital,” Gaindarpersaud, who was charged with disorderly conduct, told the newspaper, displaying abrasions on his face, leg and arm.
The footage was posted on social media late Monday and is a continuation of the 23-second video clip Jaindra initially released earlier that morning, prompting an investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Standards.
City police were initially called to the residence to investigate a neighborhood dispute over slashed tires.
Gaindarpersaud, 31, maintains his innocence and was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct.
Chief Eric Clifford has not directly address the series of punches when asked by The Daily Gazette about the new footage, but said Gaindarpersaud was resisting arrest “both actively and passively” and was ignoring commands.
The city banned knee-to-neck holds along with chokeholds in an executive order last month. Clifford disputes the officer’s knee was on the suspect’s neck, but rather his head, and the technique was necessary for restraint.
The officer’s actions drew swift condemnation from the Schenectady NAACP and community activist group All of Us, which said the encounter is strikingly similar to the events that ultimately led to Floyd’s death.
City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, a member of the Schenectady NAACP, called the officer’s actions “excessive,” but stopped short of calling for his firing.
“Perhaps discipline is needed, and review of tactics and training when it comes to interacting with the public,” Porterfield told the Gazette.