NYPD officer sentenced to probation in Brooklyn head-stomping incident

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) -- NYPD officer Joel Edouard was sentenced Thursday to two years probation for stomping a suspect in the head two years ago.

He avoided possible jail time, as Judge Alan Marrus indicated that he "did not see any need to incarcerate the defendant to do justice in this case."

There was a special condition that the 38-year-old Edouard, of Elmont, must be terminated from the NYPD immediately.

"I am sentencing the defendant to a term of two years probation with the condition, a special condition, that the defendant be terminated as a police officer," Judge Marrus said. "If the commissioner doesn't do it in the next 24 hours, I am making a condition of probation that the defendant submit his resignation as a police officer."

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson had asked a judge to sentence the 8-year veteran to two months in jail and two years probation in the incident.

"This police officer intentionally and needlessly stomped on the head of a suspect who had already been restrained by fellow officers," Thompson said. "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."

Edouard spoke out at the hearing.

"I would like to continue to serve in different ways to my community," he said. "I'm not a violent person. It was an unfortunate incident, a very regretful incident."

Edouard was convicted of misdemeanor assault in the July 2014 stomping of 33-year-old Jahmi-El Cuffee on Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, an attack caught on camera.

Cell phone video taken by a witness showed Edouard walking away from the marijuana-related arrest as other officers took over. But then he suddenly returned and briefly pulled his service weapon before appearing to stomp on the suspect's head.

Edouard's attorney Anthony Ricco questioned his client's sentence.

"With respect to the judges other conditions of sentencing, they raise very interesting questions about our civil service laws and the ability of the court to order the police commissioner and order citizens to give up civil rights in connection with a sentence," he said.

The judge stated that Cuffee feels vindicated and was satisfied by the guilty verdict. He also received $100,000 in a civil settlement.
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