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Schenectady officer involved in Monday incident ID'd, on desk duty for review, police say

Schenectady officer involved in Monday incident ID'd, on desk duty for review, police say

Schenectady officer involved in Monday incident ID'd, on desk duty for review, police say
Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud, left, Monday; Officer Brian Pommer in 2018, right
Photographer: Erica Miller, left, and Peter Barber, right/Gazette photographers

SCHENECTADY - City police Wednesday identified the officer involved in Monday's incident where video appeared to capture him kneeling on a suspect's neck.

The officer is Patrolman Brian Pommer, a seven-year veteran of the department. He has been placed on desk duty while the incident is reviewed internally.

The department late Wednesday afternoon also publicly released body camera footage from the incident. 

Update: 8:40 p.m.: Schenectady police officer's body camera footage paints broader picture of altercation

A group from the department and community organizations met to review and discuss the footage earlier Wednesday afternoon, the department said.

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Those at the meeting included leadership from the Schenectady NAACP, a member of the Civilian Police Review Board, City Council members and several community leaders, along with Mayor Gary McCarthy, Police Chief Eric Clifford, and the Police Department command staff, the department said.

"A full review of the entire incident is still being conducted by the department's Office of Professional Standards, in conjunction with the Schenectady County's District Attorney's Office," the department said in  released a statement.

Clifford's goal is to have further information available on the incident Friday, the department said.

The incident happened Monday morning, just after 10 a.m. at 332 Brandywine Ave., as Pommer responded to investigate a complaint about slashed tires and a suspect, Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud, the department said. 

More on the previously released videos: New footage reveals Schenectady  officer punching suspect, repeatedly

A portion of the ensuing interaction was caught on video by Gaindarpersaud's father and showed the officer punching Gaindarpersaud six times, his knee on the neck of the suspect.

City police on Tuesday defended the officer’s actions. Clifford did not directly address the series of punches when asked by The Daily Gazette then about the new footage, but said Gaindarpersaud was resisting arrest "both actively and passively" and was ignoring commands.

Update: 8:40 p.m.: Schenectady police officer's body camera footage paints broader picture of altercation

The officer's actions drew swift condemnation from the Schenectady NAACP and community activist group All of Us, which said the encounter is strikingly similar to the events that ultimately led to the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes May 25.

Gaindarpersaud faces one count each of fourth-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest, misdemeanors, related to the incident.

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