BY ARUL LOUIS
New York, July 9 (IANS) The video of a policeman appearing to kneel on the neck of an Indian-origin man during his arrest in New York has sparked outrage amid the nationwide protests against police brutality.
The video of Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud’s arrest on Monday in the city of Schenectady showed the policeman with his knee on the man’s neck evoking the image of the killing of the unarmed African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 which triggered the protests across the country.
However, Gaindarpersaud was taken to a hospital after his arrest and survived.
He later participated in a protest outside the Schenectady police headquarters with about 100 people demanding action against the personnel 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 that was passed in June in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing.
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.
The 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 reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)