The video of a policeman appearing to kneel on the neck of an Indian origin man during his arrest in New York state has sparked outrage coming in the midst of the nationwide protests against police brutality
The video of a policeman appearing to kneel on the neck of an Indian origin man during his arrest in New York state has sparked outrage coming in the midst of the nationwide protests against police brutality.
The video of the arrest of Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud on Monday in the city of Schenectady in New York State showed the policeman with his knee on the man's neck evoking the image of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that is behind the waves of protests across the US.
However, Gaindarpersaud was taken to a hospital after his arrest and survived. He later participated in a protest later in the day outside the Schenectady police headquarters with about 100 people demanding action against the policemen in the incident, according to media reports.
“I am enraged and heartbroken to see this violence from a Schenectady police officer,” tweeted Paul Tonko, the Democratic member of the House of Representatives.
The policeman's action could be a violation of a new New York State law outlawing the use of chokeholds or similar restraints on breathing like kneeling on the neck that was passed in June in the aftermath of Floyd's killing.
Floyd was killed in May by a policeman who choked him by putting his knee on Floyd's neck as he said, “I can't breathe.”
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford said in a statement on Tuesday that there had been a complaint that Gaindarpersaud had slashed the tyres of a car and he resisted when police tried to arrest him.
He said that the neckhold was used only to restrain him and that at no time the policeman tried to impair Gaindarpersaud's breathing or blood circulation.
Clifford said that Gaindarpersaud was able to walk to the police car after he was handcuffed.
On Wednesday, he released the video from bodycams worn by the police involved in the incident.
He said that an internal inquiry had been ordered and the police department was in touch with the district prosecutor to review the bodycam videos.
Daily Gazette reported that the policeman who allegedly used his knee on Gaindarpersaud's neck was moved to desk duty, which takes him off patrol and responding to incidents.
Gaindarpersaud told the Daily Gazette that he blacked out when he was put in the police car and regained consciousness in the hospital.
(Arul Louis can be followed on Twitter at @arulouis)