The Schenectady officer put his knee on a man’s head during an arrest, says the police chief. An investigation is now underway


The officer was dispatched to Brandywine Avenue Monday morning to receive a report of a vehicle that had its tires cut, Schenectady police said in a press release. Schenectady is about 20 miles northwest of Albany, New York.

The plaintiff alleged that a male neighbor had damaged his tires as part of an ongoing dispute between them and said he had video surveillance of the incident. The officer interviewed the suspected suspect and moved to detain him for further investigation.

Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud resisted arrest, so the officer, who was alone, “briefly placed his knee on Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s head to maintain control” as he called for help and repeated orders to the man’s family, who was also present, to stay behind, the boss said.

“The officer keeps Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s head on the ground only long enough for him to be handcuffed and immediately releases it once backup officers arrive.”

“Smashing my head into the concrete,” Gaindarpersaud told CNN affiliate Spectrum News Albany. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything.”

Gaindarpersaud said he suffered injuries from the encounter and passed out in the rear of the patrol car, according to the media outlet.

CNN contacted Gaindarpersaud for further comment, but received no immediate response.

‘You have your foot on his head’

A video circulating on social media appears to show the officer’s knee above Gaindarpersaud’s head as he hears someone say, “You put his foot on his head!”

Schenectady police said they are aware of the video circulating on social media showing part of the incident and that it is currently being reviewed by the department’s Office of Professional Standards.

“At no time did the officer attempt to impair Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s breathing or blood circulation,” said Clifford. “Upon arrival at the police headquarters, Mr. Gaindarpersaud was consciously and immediately evaluated by paramedics from the Schenectady Fire Department and then transported to Ellis Hospital for treatment.”

The NAACP Schenectady chapter told CNN that they are “outraged and demand a thorough investigation into this incident.”

“We demand that all citizens be treated equally, regardless of race or ethnicity,” the NAACP said in a statement shared with CNN. “We are at a critical moment, and any inexcusable behavior by the police must be addressed immediately.”

Mayor Gary McCarty has ordered an internal investigation and is underway by the Schenectady Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. Video from the camera with the officer’s body can be shared with the public as soon as tomorrow, Clifford said in the statement.

“Posting a partial video clip and a photo unfortunately tends to create a gap between the community and the police,” said the chief. “I would request that at this time the public be patient with the current investigation and trust that once all the information is reviewed, this agency will immediately take appropriate action.”

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