Video footage of a Schenectady police officer who was captured kneeling on an unarmed Black man’s neck has gone viral.
The incident took place outside the home of Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud, 31, who was later taken into custody.
Officers were called to the home after a neighbor called them to investigate their slashed car tires that were slashed. The neighbor reportedly told officers he had video surveillance to prove Gaindarpersaud had committed the crime.
Officers say that when they arrived to question Gaindarpersaud, he fled on foot, and an officer pursued him. While chasing the suspect, the officer lost his radio and called for somebody to call 911 and request backup.
“I see about 5 or 6 cops show up in my backyard…they all run up in my backyard without a warrant,” Gaindarpersaud told WRGB. “Five minutes more later…I would’ve been gone. His whole body weight was on my neck. Right now, I can’t turn my neck and I can’t do like — I’m in a lot of pain right now in my neck.”
However, since the incident went viral, a new video has surfaced online Monday, showing the officer punching Gaindarpersaud six times while his knee rests on his neck.
The officer can be seen lifting Gaindarpersaud’s right leg before punching him in the torso, yelling, “Put your hands behind your [expletive] back.” He remains unconscious as the officer continues to shower him with blows. Eventually, the victim is placed in handcuffs. It was only then that the officer removed his knee from his neck.
Gaindarpersaud’s father, Jaindra Gaindarpersaud, recorded the brutal attack. He says his son is innocent.
Chief Eric Clifford defended the officer’s actions to The Daily Gazette, claiming that Gaindarpersaud was resisting arrest “both actively and passively” and that he was ignoring the officer’s commands.
“The goal of law enforcement during a combative encounter should be to gain control of the subject, situation and achieve custody without causing injury,” Clifford said. “At no time did the officer attempt to impair Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s breathing or blood circulation. The officer was alone and attempting to gain control of the continually struggling Mr. Gaindarpersaud.”
Clifford says that the department will soon release the bodycam footage. He is declining to identify the officer from the video.
Local activists have surrounded the police department to protest the incident.