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VIDEO: Cop Under Investigation After Video Appears To Show Him Kneeling On Suspect’s Neck

Schenectady, NY – A Schenectady police officer is the subject of an internal investigation after cell phone footage showed him possibly kneeling on a combative suspect’s neck while he was arresting him on Monday (video below).

At approximately 9:38 a.m. on July 6, the Schenectady Police Department (SPD) received a report that the tires of a vehicle had been slashed in the area of North Bradywine Avenue between Bradley Street and Becker Street, the Times Union reported.

The complainant said that the incident was the result of an ongoing dispute between neighbors.

An officer arrived at the scene and made contact with a man later identified as 31-year-old Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud, according to the Times Union.

According to Gaindarpersaud, the officer told him that there was video surveillance that allegedly showed him slashing his neighbor’s tires, WNYT reported.

The suspect claimed he had no idea what the officer was talking about, so he told the officer he wanted to see the footage.

“Bring it to me and if that’s me, then arrest me and take me down,” Gaindarpersaud said, recounting his conversation with the officer.

The suspect said he then turned away from the officer and started to head back into his home, WNYT reported.

But according to police, Gaindarpersaud immediately fled from the officer on foot when the officer began detaining him, the Times Union reported.

The officer chased him briefly before getting into a physical altercation with him.

During the brawl, the officer lost his radio, at which point witnesses alerted police that the officer needed help, the Times Union reported.

According to National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Schenectady president Odo Butler, SPD Chef Eric Clifford said that Gaindarpersaud was intoxicated during the altercation and refused to comply with the officer’s demands, the Times Union reported.

Cell phone footage showed the officer using his knee to pin the combative suspect’s head to the ground.

“He run and grabbed me, threw me on the ground with his whole body and his knee on my neck, on my brain, hold my head with his hand and smashed it to the concrete along with his knee,” Gaindarpersaud complained to WNYT after his arrest.

“He smashed my head down, take his knee and smash it on my neck and smash it on my brain,” the suspect continued, according to the Times Union.

He said he repeatedly yelled “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.’ I was blacked out when they throw me in the car and when I wake up, I was in Ellis Hospital.”

Chief Eric Clifford has since suggested that alcohol was the reason for the blackout. Blackouts are a common side-effect of bring drunk.

“There may have been an alcoholic component that may have led to him putting his head down,” Chief Clifford said, according to The Daily Gazette.

But Gaindarpersaud claims he was dying.

“If he had me like five minutes more, I would have died because I started to lose my breath,” he added, according to WNYT.

According to the Times Union, the person who recorded the video was Gaindarpersaud’s father.

“You got the foot on his head. You’ve got the foot on his head,” his father told the officer. “What’s he done to you?”

At one point in the video, the officer told the frantic father to “go back inside.”

Gaindarpersaud has been charged with resisting arrest, the Times Union reported.

He and his father joined up with protesters outside the police station on Monday night to denounce what they claimed was an incident of police brutality.

They demanded “justice,” and said that the officer who arrested Gaindarpersaud must be fired, the Times Union reported.

“I don’t feel safe,” Gaindarpersaud told WNYT. “No, I don’t feel safe with these cops.”

Gaindarpersaud’s father said that police should be doing more to protect citizens.

“These officers have to stop, or they have to get fired,” he told The Daily Gazette. “We don’t need officers like them. We need officers to protect us — not to kill us, and they kill many people already and they’re still trying. This has to stop.”

“It was horrible,” the father said of the incident, according to WRGB. “I thought I was going to lose my son. My mind went to George Floyd.”

Approximately 100 demonstrators marched to SPD headquarters chanting “get your knees off our necks,” on Monday, according to The Daily Gazette.

“We came here for a purpose,” protester Jamaica Miles told the Times Union. “To make sure his voice was heard.”

Protest organizer Legacy Casanova declared that Gaindarpersaud’s arrest could have ended in his death, just like the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“This is exactly what happened to George Floyd, and he lost his life,” Casanova told WNYT. “For it to happen right here is unacceptable.”

Miles, co-founder of All of Us Community Action Group, said that protesters also plan to “occupy” Schenectady City Hall on July 13, the Times Union reported.

“You gotta pick up the phone and call every person you know,” she urged the crowd.

“We shouldn’t have to listen to another story again from our community members about how police use brutality against the members of this community,” Miller added, according to The Daily Gazette.

SPD said that the Office of Professional Standards has opened an investigation into the altercation.

During the protests in Schenectady in the wake of Floyd’s death, Chief Clifford knelt in solidarity with demonstrators and took part in at least one march against “police brutality,” the Times Union reported.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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