Despite the Brooklyn District Attorney’s recent decision to no longer prosecute cases involving low-level marijuana possession, the New York City Police Department not only seems intent on busting people for weed, but beating them in the process.
Last week, a cell phone video emerged from the trenches of the drug war that clearly shows NYPD officer Joel Edouard viciously stomping on the head of a citizen he suspected to be in possession of marijuana. Although NYPD officials confirm that officer Edouard’s public display of excessive force got him placed on modified assignment, the incident sheds some light on police brutality.
The violent incident went down last week after officers patrolling Malcolm X Boulevard spotted 31-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee twisting up a doobie in public view. This is when officer Edouard made the decision to swoop in and apprehend Cuffee.
The bust apparently did not go according to plan. In the video, which was captured by a witness from across the street, it is evident that Cuffee is not at all pleased by the idea of going to jail for a single joint. Yet, while he can be seen struggling with several officers, by the time he is wrestled to the ground, he appears to be more frightened than retaliatory, screaming, “Help me!” repeatedly.
It does not take long for a crowd of angry onlookers to gather around. One woman can be seen attempting to get Cuffee to “stop resisting.”
At one point Edouard gets up and walks away while several other officers continued to subdue Cuffee. When officer Edouard returns, the video shows the situation taking a turn for the worse, as he slams his boot down on top of Cuffee’s head while the other officers restrain him face down on the pavement.
Witnesses can be heard screaming in disbelief, while the man who appears to be filming the incident shouts, “What is wrong with this officer?” Look at your officer! You see that?”
Reports indicate that Cuffee was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for head and neck injuries, before he was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana.
Officer Edouard has since been forced to surrender his gun and badge and has been reassigned to desk duty, pending the completion of an Internal Affairs investigation.
Unfortunately, these types of despicable battles between law enforcement and marijuana users will continue to happen, not just in New York City, but all across the country until the federal government finally repeals marijuana prohibition once and for all.