An NYPD officer who was caught on video apparently stomping on a man's head as he tried to arrest him last summer was indicted Tuesday, according to the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
On July 23, 2014, two officers, including Officer Joel Edouard, 37, allegedly saw 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee drinking on a sidewalk in Bedford Stuyvesant while in possession of marijuana, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement.
Edouard was charged with third-degree assault, third-degree attempted assault and official misconduct, according to the Brooklyn DA's office. He was released without bail.
The officers dragged Cuffee to the ground at about 7:30 p.m. and arrested him. Other officers then came to help, holding Cuffee down. But Edouard pointed his gun at Cuffee, before walking away for a minute, according to Thompson and the video. He then appeared to come back and stomp on Cuffee's head, causing several people to scream and one man to say "what is wrong with this officer?" The entire incident was recorded on video.
"Help me," Cuffee could be heard repeatedly saying, while officers told him to "stop resisting."
Cuffee's head hit the sidewalk, causing abrasions and future headaches, Thompson said in a statement.
"The facts will show that the so-called kick to the head was in fact no such thing," said Edouard's attorney, Stephen Worth. "Neither the medical nor video evidence will support this charge."
Worth noted that Edouard was not charged with using his gun in any way. He has been suspended for 30 days and will be placed on modified duty following that.
"Police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe," Thompson said in a statement. "However, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground, which is unacceptable for a police officer. While a serious matter, this indictment should not reflect on the great work being done throughout the city by the vast majority of police officers who perform their duties honorably."
Edouard is due back in court on March 24. If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison.
The indictment comes just months after another pair of NYPD officers were indicted in a Brooklyn incident caught on video. The officers, David Afanador, 33, and Tyrane Isaac, 36, were charged in November for allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old boy in August, knocking his teeth out.
The Afanador and Isaac indictment was the first against an NYPD officer for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who took office last year.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson as a former police officer.