Newly released body camera footage shows a Schenectady police officer put his knee on a man’s head and neck after the man runs from him and resists arrest.
Previously, a 22-second video online only showed Patrolman Brian Pommer with his knee on the suspect’s head but did not show the events leading up to or after that incident.
The man, Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud, said the officer was “smashing my head to the concrete,” according to CNN affiliate Spectrum News Albany. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do nothing.”
Schenectady is about 20 miles northwest of Albany, New York.
Gaindarpersaud said he sustained injuries from the encounter and passed out in the back of the squad car, according to the news outlet.
Pommer, a seven-year veteran of the police force, is on desk duty while officials investigate the incident.
CNN has reached out to him and the police union for comment.
The body cam footage
Pommer was responding to a call about damaged property Monday, according to a statement from Schenectady Police Department Chief of Police Eric Clifford.
The officer was dispatched to Brandywine Avenue for a report of a vehicle that had its tires slashed, according to police. The complainant 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 suspect, Gaindarpersaud, committing the crime.
On body camera video, which lasts just over five minutes, Pommer approaches Gaindarpersaud in the driveway of a home and tells him the neighbors have video of him slashing their tires, but they don’t want to press charges.
Gaindarpersaud tells Pommer he does not know what the officer is talking about and wants to see the video.
“Yes, let me talk to you, OK? We have it on camera, they don’t want to press charges right now.” Pommer says.
“I don’t care what they want to do because I don’t know what you talking about. So, bring that camera and show it to me. OK?” Gaindarpersaud responds.
“OK, turn around. Put your hands behind your back,” Pommer says while calling for back up on his radio.
“Put my hands for what?” Gaindarpersaud responds.
“Yep turn around, put your hands behind your back,” Pommer says.
At this point, Gaindarpersaud runs to the backyard of the home and Pommer runs after him. A struggle ensues when Pommer catches up to Gaindarpersaud.
“Hands behind your back! Hands behind your back! Hands behind your back!” Pommer yells.
“Yo, why you harassing me? Why you harassing me? Why you harassing me?” Gaindarpersaud asks.
The struggle continues. It isn’t clear what is happening but the officer pushes Gaindarpersaud toward the ground and tells him over and over to put his hands behind his back.
“Put your hands behind your back! Put your hands behind your f—ing back!” Pommer says.
Then, Pommer puts his knee on Gaindarpersaud’s head and neck. Seconds later, it appears Pommer strikes Gaindarpersaud somewhere in his lower body because the camera shakes and the suspect says, “ow!”
Someone asks Pommer, “What did he do to you?” to which Pommer responds “Back up!” and keeps repeating that and “get back inside now!”
Gaindarpersaud continues to say, “Ow, my head!”
“Hands behind your f—ing back! Behind your f—ing back!” Pommer says as he continues to struggle to handcuff him.
Pommer keeps his knee on Gaindarpersaud’s head and neck for at least 90 seconds, but his body camera falls to the ground during that time and it could be as long as about 2 minutes, at which time other officers arrive and help take him into custody.
Once the officers escort Gaindarpersaud to the police car, he appears to struggle with them again after one officer appears to try to check his pocket.
Pommer can be heard saying, “Just get him outta here guys.”
Police chief says Gaindarpersaud was taken directly to police headquarters before going to the hospital
Police said Gaindarpersaud resisted arrest and that the officer’s knee was only used to maintain control.
“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,” Police Chief Eric Clifford said in a press release Tuesday.
The man was put in a police car and immediately taken to police headquarters, Clifford said.
Gaindarpersaud was conscious for the ride and the officer transporting him called medics on the way to the station, he said.
“Upon arrival at police headquarters Mr. Gaindarpersaud was conscious and immediately evaluated by Schenectady Fire Department paramedics then transported to Ellis Hospital for treatment,” Clifford said.
Gaindarpersaud was charged with criminal mischief and resisting arrest according to Spectrum News Albany.