Police Officer Sentenced to Two Years’ Probation For Stomping on Suspect’s Head

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Police Officer Sentenced to Two Years’ Probation
For Stomping on Suspect’s Head

Convicted of Assault; Incident Caught on Cell Phone Video

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a New York City Police Officer was sentenced to two years’ probation and instructed to resign following his conviction 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 intentionally and needlessly stomped on the head of a suspect who had already been restrained by fellow officers.  And he did so in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people. He deserved to spend time in jail for committing such a blatant act of police brutality, but we accept the sentence imposed by the court.” 

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 sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus to two years’ probation with the condition that, if not terminated, he resigns from his job as a police officer within 24 hours. The defendant was convicted on April 29, 2016 of one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, after a bench trial. The District Attorney’s Office recommended a sentence of 60 days in jail followed by two years’ probation. 

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, face down 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.