P.O. Joel Edouard
‘Stomp’ cop’s lawyer admits officer is ‘no hero’
By Georgett Roberts and Chris Perez — Friday, April 29th, 2016 ‘The New York Post’
Even the lawyer for the cop accused of stomping on a Brooklyn man’s head during a drug bust-gone-bad in 2014 admitted his client “is no hero’’ as he gave closing arguments at the officer’s trial Thursday.
“It’s probably the only thing [that the prosecutor] said that I agree with,’’ said Anthony Ricco, the lawyer for NYPD Officer Joel Edouard.
Edouard was allegedly caught on camera assaulting Jamal Cuffee, 32, after he spotted him drinking and smoking pot in public.
Ricco said his client only “used his foot to stop [Cuffee’s] hand’’ and asserted that prosecutors relied on Photoshop to doctor pictures showing injuries to the alleged victim’s head instead.
Prosecutor Marc Fliedner lashed back, “In that moment when [Eduoard] stomped on Jamal Cuffee’s head, he was acting not as one of New York’s Finest, he was acting in vengeance and in anger. And sadly, in that moment, he was acting as a criminal.”
Edouard’s bench trial is expected to wrap up Friday, with the judge rendering a verdict.
Fiery closing arguments made in trial of NYPD cop charged with stomping man’s head
By Edgar Sandoval and Ginger Adams Otis — Friday, April 29th, 2016 ‘The New York Daily News’
The fate of an NYPD officer accused of stomping a man’s head during a 2014 marijuana arrest was debated in heated closing arguments Thursday.
Prosecutors told Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Alan Marrus that Joel Edouard ignored his oath as an officer when he violently kicked Jahmiel Cuffee.
“In that moment he wasn’t acting like one of New York’s Finest. He was acting out in vengeance and in anger and sadly in that moment he was acting like a criminal,” prosecutor Marc Fliedner argued in his closing statements.
But defense attorney Anthony Ricco fought back with an equally dramatic closing argument, telling Judge Marrus that Edouard was a dedicated cop.
“You see good police work every step of the way,” Ricco said. “This officer is trapped ... What is he supposed to do? He does what he has to do. Judge, he’s not a superhero,” said Ricco, who also accused Cuffee of using Photoshop in some pictures to exaggerate his injuries.
Judge Marrus said he would rule Friday on the misdemeanor assault charge brought against Edouard.
The veteran officer was caught on cellphone video stomping Cuffee’s head after the man was cuffed by cops in a Bedford Stuyvesant jerk chicken joint in July 2014.
Edouard had been trying to arrest Cuffee for marijuana possession when he began resisting arrest, the officer said.
The video was part of the testimony against him during the two-day bench trial.
Prosecutors said Edouard lost his cool during the arrest and that’s when he got violent.
“He started to walk away, but came back because his anger is taken over. And he stomps on [Cuffee’s] head,” Fliedner said.
“He doesn’t just cross the line. He stomps on his head,” the lawyer stressed.
“You saw [his head] bounce, your honor. You saw it bounce against the concrete.”
Fliedner also pointed to the horrified expressions on Edouard’s colleagues and they tried to stop him from attacking the handcuffed Cuffee.
Ricco, in a lengthy statement, painted Edouard as a dedicated officer who was trying to subdue a reluctant suspect.
He noted that Cuffee at one point reached for the small of his back — and the officers had no way of knowing he was trying to get rid of his marijuana, not grabbing for a gun.
“I want the court to keep in mind that hands kill,” Ricco said.
He accused Cuffee of taking advantage of recent attention to police brutality cases to try and escape criminal charges and file his own civil suit.
Ricco also disputed Cuffee’s injury claims — suggesting he falsified the extent of his wounds by altering his post-hospital photographs.
“We got something here called Photoshop,” Ricco said.
He noted that in the pictures taken of Cuffee in the hospital, there was no evidence of head and neck injuries he would later claim to have suffered.
“He’s controlling the narrative. He lied and purged himself. This is not a game. This is real life,” Ricco insisted. “He’s affecting the arrest and also thinking about the community.”
He finished by asking the judge to “stop this ... madness.”