A New York police sergeant turned himself in to the FBI four years after electrocuting a man seven times while handcuffed and on the ground, in violation of his rights, federal prosecutors said.
Sergeant Mario Stewart, 44, of Brooklyn, was the supervising officer when he and six other Mount Vernon police officers responded to a man experiencing a mental health crisis in a parking lot in suburban New York City, according to an indictment filed July 19 in federal court.
At Stewart’s direction, officers on the scene handcuffed the man behind his back and placed his legs in a restraint bag before he was transported to receive medical help, the indictment says.
While the man was on the ground, immobile with handcuffs and restraints, Stewart shot him repeatedly in front of the other officers, according to the indictment.
Now Stewart is accused of deprivation of rights under the guise of lawannounced the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in a July 20 press release.
“Instead of rendering assistance, Stewart deployed his Taser on the individual seven times in a span of approximately two minutes, while the individual was handcuffed and leg restrained and several other MVPD officers were on scene to assist,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in the news release. “Stewart’s alleged conduct not only betrayed his duty as an officer to protect those under his charge, but he also violated the law.”
Information about Stewart’s legal representation was not available on the afternoon of July 21.
Stewart was a sergeant in the department’s emergency services unit, which handles mental health calls, when she responded to the man with emotional distress in March 2019, according to prosecutors.
After officers secured the man’s legs in a restraint bag that day, they unsuccessfully tried to place the restraint bag over his chest because the man grabbed one of the straps, prosecutors said.
This prompted Stewart to order the man to release the restraints moments before Tasering him, according to prosecutors.
McClatchy News reached out to the Mount Vernon Police Department for comment and questions about his employment status on July 21 and was awaiting a response.
If convicted on a charge of deprivation under the guise of law, Stewart can face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.