SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two misdemeanor charges have been dropped against a Schenectady man who was the subject of a controversial arrest in July. A Schenectady officer was caught on camera with his knee on the head and neck area of Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud after he was accused of damaging his neighbor’s tires.
The criminal mischief charge Gaindarpersaud was facing was dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence, and the resisting arrest charge was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.
This means the charge will automatically be dismissed in six months, unless Gaindarpersaud violates the law during that time.
A resolution—signed by Gaindarpersaud, his lawyer, and Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney—acknowledges that mistakes were made by both Gaindarpersaud and the arresting officer, Brian Pommer. It further acknowledges that mutual distrust and “unhelpful assumptions” contributed to the mistakes.
The controversial incident happened in the months following the death of George Floyd, who was placed in a similar hold by a Milwaukee police officer. Floyd’s death led to nationwide calls for police reform and led to increased scrutiny of the use of knee-to-neck restraints.
The footage emerged just weeks after Mayor Gary McCarthy signed an executive order banning the use of knee-to neck holds by law enforcement. An investigation into the officer’s conduct was launched by Schenectady Police and the District Attorney’s office. Protests were also held outside the city’s Liberty Street-based police station.
The Schenectady County District Attorney’s full statement, and the resolution signed by both parties, can be viewed below.