[The Daily Gazette] Schenectady – City police have launched a probe into an incident that resulted in an officer kneeling on a man’s neck while being taken into custody on Monday morning.
Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud,[who is a US-based Guyanese], said he was confronted by city police investigating a report that his neighbor’s tires had been slashed.
Gaindarpersaud, 31, said he told the officer to provide evidence, turned around and walked away.
That’s when he said the unidentified officer allegedly threw him to the ground before kneeling on his neck.
“His whole body weight was smashing my head into the concrete,” Gaindarpersaud said. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move.”
After being placed into the patrol car, Gaindarpersaud said he blacked out.
“When I woke up, I was in Ellis Hospital,” said Gaindarpersaud, who displayed abrasions on his face, leg and arm to The Daily Gazette ahead of a protest held outside of police headquarters on Monday.
A 22-second video clip shot by his father, Jaindra Gaindarpersaud, and posted to social media reveals the officer kneeling on his neck while Jaindra pleaded with him to stop.
“You got the foot on his head,” Jaindra said. “You’ve got the foot on his head.”
The officer responded, “Go back inside now” and told Jaindra to “back up.”
“He stopped breathing and he was not moving,” Jaindra Gaindarpersaud said. “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.’”
Jaindra Gaindarpersaud said the brief clip is part of a longer segment he estimated was two or three minutes of an encounter that lasted at least 10 minutes.
City police confirmed officers responded to an ongoing neighbor dispute.
According to city police, Gaindarpersaud “pulled away from the officer and fled on foot into the backyard of his residence.”
“A brief foot chase and struggle ensued during which the officer lost his radio and asked a nearby witness to call police,” police said in a statement. “Additional responding officers arrived on scene and were able to assist the original officer and ultimately place the male into handcuffs.”
The incident is under investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Standards.
The department is committed to “fair, impartial, and transparent investigations,” said city police, who declined further comment.