Officer stomped and punched suspects head as he was “resisting arrest”
An NYPD officer was convicted by a judge Friday morning for “gratuitously” stomping on the head of a suspect.
In a statement explaining his decision, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus said that disgraced officer Joel Edouard “let down his fellow officers by losing his composure in an admittedly difficult decision.”
Video evidence shows that to be an extremely generous way of describing a man senselessly beating a handcuffed suspect repeatedly over the head.
The 37-year-old officer faces anywhere from probation to a year in jail for repeatedly stomping on Jahmi-El Cuffee’s head as the suspect was being detained for nonviolent drug possession on Malcolm X Blvd, Brooklyn on July 23, 2014.
In the incident, caught in a viral video taken by nearby witness Gary Dormer and described by Brooklyn prosecutor Marc Fliedner as “stomping on a roach that you intend to kill,” Edouard can be clearly seen walking away from the marijuana-related arrest of Cuffee, 33, as other officers took over.
Suddenly, he then returns, briefly pulls his weapon, and repeatedly stomps on the suspect’s head.
Cuffee suffered headaches, bruises, and scrapes and is suing the New York City, NYPD, and the specific officers involved for $25 million.
The NYPD’s official account of the incident, reinforced in trial Tuesday by Edouard’s defense attorney, was that Cuffee resisted arrest and attempted to grab the officer’s run.
Cuffee was “reaching into the small of his back” when cops tried to subdue him, the defense attorney said.
According to Fliedner, and subsequently corroborated by video shot from Dormer, Edouard specifically escalated his conduct when he saw that he was being filmed.
Edouard “decided he wanted to harm him (Cuffee) because he was angry, and that’s what he did,” said Fliedner.
“Police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, however, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said at the time that charges were filed.
The nine-year veteran reportedly closed his eyes and held his face in his palms in disbelief after Justice Marrus explained his reasons for finding Edouard guilty of the misdemeanor assault charges.
Sentencing has been reserved by prosecutors for the defendant until June 10.