Incident Caught on Cell Phone Video
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a New York City Police Officer has been convicted of misdemeanor assault for stomping on the head of a suspect while he was face down on the ground, in the process of being handcuffed by other officers.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This police officer, in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people, stomped on the head of a suspect while he lay on the ground, subdued and surrounded by other officers. That’s why he was indicted, put on trial and convicted. His conduct was simply outrageous”.
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Joel Edouard, 38, of Elmont, NY who was assigned to the 81st Precinct at the time of the incident. He was found guilty today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus of one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, after a non-jury trial. The defendant is facing a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a minimum sentence of a conditional discharge when he is sentenced on June 10, 2016.
The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 23, 2014, at about 7:30 p.m., in the vicinity of 223 Malcolm X Boulevard, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the defendant and his partner observed Jahmi-El Cuffee, 32, drinking on the sidewalk and possessing what appeared to be marijuana. Cuffee resisted arrest and tussled with the officers. Additional officers arrived on the scene to assist Officer Edouard and his partner.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, a witness to the incident captured a cell phone video which depicts Cuffee on the ground, facedown and being subdued by several officers. Also depicted on the video is Officer Edouard briefly pointing his gun at Cuffee, walking away from the scene of the arrest and then walking back and stomping on Cuffee’s head as he lay on the ground. Cuffee’s head then hit the concrete, causing him to suffer a contusion and later dizziness, headaches and nausea.
The case was investigated by Sergeant Amy Morin of the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner of Internal Affairs Joseph Reznick.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney India Sneed, also of the Civil Rights Bureau, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.