An officer convicted of an assault that was caught on cellphone video is speaking out for the first time. In an exclusive interview with NY1's Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger, the officer says he doesn't deserve to be fired.
Officer Joel Edouard was captured on a video stomping on a suspect.
After being convicted of assault and sentenced, he's speaking exclusively to NY1.
"Being portrayed as a thug, that is everything I've worked for in my life not to be," Edouard said.
The altercation happened two years ago in Brooklyn as police tried to arrest a man smoking marijuana and drinking in public. The judge said Edouard stomped on the suspect's head. He called it unnecessary, an act of police brutality. The officer disputes that.
"He punched the handcuff out of my hand. And the video we have, the video doesn't tell you the full story in terms of how long we were there fighting with him, for us to get him under control," Edouard said.
Meminger: Are you sorry?
Edouard: Yes I am.
A judge last week sentenced Edouard for misdemeanor assault, giving him two years probation and ordering the officer to resign if he wasn't fired in 24 hours.
Edouard's lawyer has filed an appeal.
"The public service law doesn't permit the police commissioner to fire someone in 24 hours," said defense attorney Anthony Ricco. "And what the judge did was really create a condition of probation that's against New York State law."
His lawyer says Edouard is being scapegoated for cases of police brutality. The stomping occurred a week after Eric Garner died from an illegal police chokehold. The officer involved, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted and is still working on modified duty.
"So many other cases where people in our community we have have been victimized and murdered, where no action was taken at all, charges, not even departmental charges were brought. How do we reconcile that?" Ricco said.
Meminger: Do you still want to be an officer?
Edouard: Certainly. I still have a lot of service in me, sir.
Edouard was suspended without pay following his conviction. The police commissioner has said he wants Edouard fired.
The officer will now face a police department judge. A departmental trial has been scheduled against him. That will take place in two weeks inside of police headquarters.