Schenectady Police Chief: Report on controversial arrest delayed due to crime spike

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford - File photo

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford - File photo

SCHENECTADY — Recent crime spikes have delayed the release of a report on a city police officer’s actions during a controversial arrest earlier this summer.

“The recent crime on the streets [has] delayed the report,” said city Police Chief Eric Clifford.

As a result of internal personnel shifts, the investigating lieutenant now oversees the department’s detective division, Clifford said.

The city has seen four fatal shootings this year, and Clifford previously said the city has seen an 100 percent increase in confirmed shots fired.

Numbers are up similarly for confirmed shooting victims.

Upon being questioned about a report of slashed tires on North Brandywine Avenue on July 6, Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud fled from Officer Brian Pommer, who knelt on his neck area and punched him several times in an effort to take him into custody.

While not fatal, the altercation drew parallels with the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, an event that sparked nationwide protests over racism and police brutality.

Clifford said he expects the report “soon” but indicated its release to the public is contingent on the resolution of the two misdemeanor charges Gaindarpersaud faces as a result of the incident.

“From a timeline perspective, I will not be releasing anything or commenting publicly about anything until Mr. Ganderpersaud’s criminal case is adjudicated,” Clifford said on Tuesday.

Gaindarpersaud has been charged with criminal mischief and resisting arrest and has pleaded not guilty.

His next court date is Sept. 8.

Gaindarpersaud’s attorney, Derek S. Andrews, said it’s unclear how the details in the report would affect the charges.

“Without knowing what’s in the report, that would be a difficult question to answer,” Andrews said.

Clifford previously said he hoped to receive more information by the end of August.

“I do plan on releasing a statement clarifying this stance soon,” said Clifford, who said he’s unsure if he will do so before or after the upcoming Labor Day weekend. “I was planning to do that once I have the final report.”

The investigation was conducted by the city police’s Office of Professional Standards and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.

Clifford has said the probe was designed to look at the totality of the altercation, including events leading up to the struggle.

Pommer, a seven-year veteran of the department, has been temporarily assigned to desk duty.

Categories: News, Schenectady County, The Daily Gazette

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