Statement from the Chief of Police, Eric S. Clifford
Yesterday, July 6, 2020, a photo and video was shared on social media depicting a portion of a longer encounter during which a Schenectady Police Officer arrested a male at 332 Brandywine Avenue. Upon learning of the photo and discussing it with Mayor Gary McCarthy, an internal probe was initiated by the Schenectady Police Department Office of Professional Standards. The body worn camera of the officer involved was accessed immediately and reviewed, in addition to the partial video shared on social media. Later that day a statement was released by the Schenectady Police Department with the commitment to conduct a fair, impartial, and transparent investigation.
The fair and impartial investigation began with an immediate contact to the Schenectady County District Attorney to seek assistance with the evaluation of all video footage and the assessment of any violations of New York State Penal Laws or executive orders. Multiple videos were viewed by members of the Schenectady Police Department command staff, including myself, in addition to representatives for the district attorney. The investigation plan was discussed, and an evaluation of the entire incident was initiated. The Schenectady Police Department is committed to sharing the officer’s body worn camera video with the public soon, as early as tomorrow.
At this time limited information can be substantiated, and it would be premature to draw conclusions until the entire incident and all evidence can be reviewed. Along with Mayor McCarthy and Commissioner Michael Eidens, I have determined that it is important to get some known facts communicated to the public immediately.
Mr. Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud did resist arrest, both actively and passively. The goal of law enforcement during a combative encounter should be to gain control of the subject, situation, and achieve custody, without causing injury. 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. This officer briefly placed his knee on Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s head to maintain control of the subject while calling for help and giving repeated commands to Mr. Gaindarpersaud’s family to back up. During this engagement the officer gives multiple commands to “put your hands behind your back”. The officer holds the head of Mr. Gaindarpersaud to the ground only as long as necessary to get him handcuffed and immediately releases it once backup officers arrive. During the interaction Mr. Gaindarpersaud remained vocal and never loses consciousness. Once handcuffed Mr. Gaindarpersaud walks on his own to the police car, and once at the police car makes an attempt to break free from custody. He is then placed into a police car and immediately driven to police headquarters. Mr. Gaindarpersaud remained conscious for the ride, the officer providing transport spoke to him and called medics en route to the police station to evaluate Mr. Gaindarpersaud. Upon arrival at police headquarters Mr. Gaindarpersaud was conscious and immediately evaluated by Schenectady Fire Department paramedics then transported to Ellis Hospital for treatment.
The Schenectady Police Officer was dispatched to 332 Brandywine Avenue to assist a victim to seek justice for damage done to his property. Incidents that involve resisting arrest are never standard, and many times result in injury to the arrestee and the officer involved. The release of a partial clip of video and a photo unfortunately tend to drive a wedge between the community and police. I would ask that at this time the public be patient with the current probe and trust that once all information is reviewed the appropriate action will immediately be taken by this agency.
Schenectady Police are investigating a video that shows one of their officer's kneeling on a man's neck. The incident happened Monday morning on Brandywine Avenue.
Police say the initial call centered around a complaint about slashed tires as part of an ongoing neighbor dispute.
When an officer went to detain 34-year-old Yugeshwar Giandarpersaud, he ran and that lead to a struggle. Gaindarpersaud says he was charged with resisting arrest.
Police are asking any witnesses to come forward.