Man pleads not guilty to criminal mischief and resisting arrest in controversial altercation with Schenectady officer

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In Schenectady court Tuesday morning, Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud pleaded not guilty to charges of resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

Gaindarpersaud’s attorney, Derek Andrews, feels the resisting arrest charge lacks proof, but the judge said there was enough evidence at the time to move forward with the arraignment.

“We are disappointed in that outcome,” Andrews said, “but we do have the opportunity to come back stronger, with more information, to make a better application on both charges for them to be dismissed.”

About two weeks ago, video circulated social media showing Officer Patrol Brian Pommer appearing to put his knee on Gaindarpersaud’s neck and face area as he was being arrested.

This sparked public outcry and protests against police brutality. Mayor Gary McCarthy banned the use of knee-to-neck holds in the city.

Members of the activist group “All of Us” waited outside court during the arraignment, saying they support and stand with Gaindarpersaud.

Gaindarpersaud’s case and the officer’s arrest methods are under review.

According to SPD Chief Eric Clifford, Gaindarpersaud resisted arrest, and the officer, who was alone, was attempting to gain control of him. Chief Clifford said the officer gave multiple commands to “put your hands behind your back,” and he held Gaindarpersaud’s head to the ground long enough to get him handcuffed.

 “We also have an opportunity to fight whether or not police Officer Brian Palmer had probable cause to arrest Mr. Gaindarpersaud for any particular offense,” Andrews said.

The body camera footage of the incident that was made public was not mentioned in court Tuesday.

Gaindarpersaud was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court August 18 at 9 a.m.

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