Barely two months after the death of George Floyd, another disturbing footage emerged on social media over the weekend with a New York police officer kneeling on African American man’s neck during his arrest in Schenectady, New York, a city about 18 miles from Albany.
The 31-year-old Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud said “five minutes more, I would’ve been gone” after he lost consciousness and later woke up in hospital.
According to the Police report, they were responding to a report that Gaindarpersaud allegedly slashed his neighbor’s tires before he was accused of resisting arrest during the violent backyard altercation.
Gaindarpersaud’s dad Jaindra Gaindarpersau recorded the incident and the police officer is seen pinning the man to the floor with his knee on his neck as he and Gaindarpersaud’s wife begs him to stop.
During a protest outside the Schenectady Police Department, Gaindarpersaud’s dad told the raging crowd how his son “was not moving anymore” during the arrest and he thought he would die. “George Floyd formed in my mind,” he said. “I thought in my mind ‘he’s going to die just like George Floyd.”
According to the video, Jaindra can be heard saying “What has he done to you?” “You got the foot on his head,” he shouts at the officer. “You’ve got the foot on his head.” The cop then tells Gaindarpersaud senior to “go back inside now” and to “back up.”
More footage was shared on Facebook, showing the officer repeatedly punching Gaindarpersau in the torso as he writhed.
Police Chief Clifford reportedly said Gaindarpersau was resisting arrest “both actively and passively,” however. He said the Schenectady officer didn’t impair Gaindarpersau’s breathing or blood circulation by “briefly placing his knee” on the suspect’s head to restrain him.
Gaindarpersaud was charged with resisting arrest after officers received reports that he damaged his neighbor’s property – which he denies – and he is now calling for the cop to be fired.
The police department’s Office of Professional Standards has launched an investigation into the incident. “The Department has been made aware of a video circulating on social media partially depicting the incident,” police said in a statement.
On Monday evening, around 100 Black Lives Matter protesters stood outside the department demanding the same retribution. The state and city banned cops using controversial knee-to-neck holds, a tactic which contributed to Floyd’s death on May 25.
Gaindarpersaud maintained he tried to walk away from cops after demanding they provide evidence of his involvement, when he was allegedly thrown to the ground and kneeled on.
“His whole body weight was smashing my head into the concrete,” said Gaindarpersaud, who had abrasions and bruises as per the Gazette. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move.”
Gaindarpersaud recalled saying “I can’t breathe,” echoing Floyd’s final words, and that woke up in Ellis Hospital. Police said the officer in question had responded at 9:38 a.m. on Monday to reports of vehicle tires being slashed amid an ongoing dispute between Gaindarpersaud and his neighbors.
I am enraged and heartbroken to see this violence from a Schenectady police officer. I have been told that police departments across our region do not teach or use these tactics, so HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?— Paul Tonko ⚫️ (@RepPaulTonko) July 7, 2020
The Schenectady NAACP expressed “grave concern” over the video and asked that the body cam footage be reviewed.
The knee-to-neck tactic was banned by both New York state and the city of Schenectady in the wake of Floyd’s police custody death in Minneapolis.
Gov Andrew Cuomo passed a series of major police reform bills on June 12, which included a ban on cops using chokeholds, and said he would defund departments that do not implement these measures.
How long are we going to survive the ever increasing Police brutality?