An NYPD officer faces up to a year in prison and possible loss of his job following his conviction Friday for stomping on the head of suspect during a street confrontation in Brooklyn nearly two years ago, officials said.
Joel Edouard, 38, of Elmont, was convicted of one count of misdemeanor assault after a nonjury trial in Brooklyn State Court, said Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Trial testimony before Supreme Court Judge Alan Marrus, who made the guilty finding, showed that Edouard was on patrol on July 23, 2014 when he and a partner noticed Jahmi-el Cuffee, 32, drinking on the sidewalk and in possession of what appeared to be marijuana, Thompson said in a statement.
After Cuffee resisted arrest and began tussling with the officers, Edouard was seen on a cellphone video stomping on Cuffee’s head as he lay handcuffed on the ground, Thompson said. Cuffee’s head hit the concrete and he suffered a contusion, as well as dizziness, headaches and nausea, the prosecutor said. The video was widely posted on television and the Internet at the time.
According to reports, Edouard testified earlier this week during a two-day trial, saying he had been trained to step on exposed body areas such as hands, but not the head, to restrain resisting prisoners.
An NYPD spokesman said Edouard was suspended without pay following his conviction after the bench trial before Marrus. Following his conviction, Edouard’s departmental trial will likely be fast tracked, the spokesman said.
Edouard, who will be sentenced June 10, could be sentenced to a conditional discharge or up to a year in jail under state law. If he is found guilty in a departmental trial, Edouard could lose his job.
Defense attorney Anthony Ricco couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday.