The officer was dispatched to Brandywine Avenue on Monday morning for a report on a vehicle whose tires were cut, Schenectady police said in a press release. Schenectady is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Albany, New York.
The complainant claimed that a male neighbor had damaged his tires as part of an ongoing dispute between them and said he had video surveillance of the accident. The officer interviewed the suspect and moved to detain him for further investigation.
Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud resisted the arrest, so the officer, who was alone, “put his knee briefly on Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s head to maintain control” while asking for help and giving repeated orders to the man̵
“The officer keeps Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s head on the ground only long enough to handcuff him and releases him immediately after the reserve officers arrive.”
“By smashing your head at the concrete,” Gaindarpersaud told CNN affiliate Spectrum News Albany. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything.”
Gaindarpersaud said he suffered injuries during the meeting and passed out in the rear of the police car, according to reports from the store.
CNN contacted Gaindarpersaud for further comments, but received no immediate response.
The agent, patrolman Brian Pommer, is on duty during the accident, according to a statement from the police department.
Pommer is a seven-year veteran of the police force, the department said.
CNN contacted Pommer for comment on the accident.
‘You have your foot on your head’
A video circulating on social media seems to show the officer’s knee on Gaindarpersaud’s head while someone can be heard saying “You have a foot on your head!”
Schenectady police said they were aware of the video circulating on social media showing part of the incident and that it is currently under review by the department’s professional standards office.
“At no time did the officer attempt to compromise Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s breathing or blood circulation,” said Clifford. “Upon arrival at the police headquarters, Mr. Gaindarpersaud was conscious and immediately evaluated by the paramedics of Schenectady firefighters, then transported to Ellis hospital for treatment.”
The NAACP Schenectady chapter told CNN that “they are outraged and require a thorough investigation of this incident.”
“We demand that all citizens be treated equally regardless of their race or ethnicity,” said the NAACP in a statement shared with CNN. “We are in a critical moment and any unjustifiable behavior by law enforcement agencies must be addressed immediately.”
An internal investigation was ordered by Mayor Gary McCarthy and is underway at the Schenectady Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. The video from the camera worn by the officer’s body could be shared with the public tomorrow, Clifford said in the statement.
“The release of a partial video clip and a photo unfortunately tends to create a wedge between the community and the police,” said the chief. “I would like to ask that the public be patient with the current probe right now and are confident that once all the information is reviewed, the agency will immediately take the appropriate measures.”
The mayor, police chief, Schenectady NAACP, the Civil Police Review Council and city council members met on Wednesday afternoon to see and discuss the camera footage.
Clifford and McCarthy plan to make more information available to the public on Friday, the police department said.