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NYPD Places Officer on Modified Duty After Video of Rough Arrest

By  Paul DeBenedetto Ben Fractenberg and Murray Weiss | July 25, 2014 8:56pm | Updated on July 27, 2014 11:22pm

Bed-Stuy Officer
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The NYPD placed a Bed-Stuy police officer on modified duty Friday after video showed him pointing a gun at a man's face before a witness said he stepped on the man's head, officials and police sources said.

The video shows two officers from the 81st Precinct subduing a man identified by activists as Jahmil-El Cuffee, 32, in the driveway of a Bed-Stuy home before taking him to the ground while he appears to be resisting arrest. The officers arrested him for smoking a joint, police sources said.

The video shows the unidentified officer pull out what appears to be a firearm as his partner tries to control the suspect, briefly pointing it at the suspect's face before putting it away as onlookers yelled at the two policemen.

The same officer is shown walking away, then returning and lifting his leg and stepping down in the vicinity of Cuffee's head as another officer walks in front of the camera amid screams from onlookers.

Later, the man recording the video says, "I just watched them stomp on that man's head. And you had him on the floor already."

NYPD officers eventually handcuffed Cuffee and took him away, according to the video. He has previous arrests, including one for weapons possession, the sources added.

The unidentified officer was placed on modified duty, and the Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the matter, NYPD officials said.

The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon, Bed-Stuy Councilman Robert Cornegy told DNAinfo New York, adding that he was happy to see disciplinary action taken so quickly by the NYPD.

"A swifter action than we've seen in the past was taken in this instance," Cornegy said. "I saw the video too and it required swift action."

The arrest comes amid growing criticism of the NYPD stemming from the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after being wrestled to the ground and put into what appeared to be a chokehold. That incident was also recorded on cellphone video.

Another video surfaced days later showing an officer using a chokehold on a man and punching him in an East Harlem subway station. That officer remains on active duty, police said. 

Cuffee will join Garner's family and the Rev. Al Sharpton at a Saturday morning rally protesting the NYPD, a spokeswoman for the National Action Network said Friday.

Cornegy said in both instances, he wasn't sure that disciplinary action would have taken place against the officers had no video of the incidents been available.

"I want to see when there's no cameras present," he said.