CENTRAL ISLIP, New York — A Long Island man who claims he was pummeled by police officers during an April 2014 traffic stop that was caught on video has filed a federal lawsuit against the officers involved.
Kyle Howell filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. He alleges Nassau County police officers Vincent LoGiudice and Basil Gomez "started beating him relentlessly" during the encounter.
The officers were in an unmarked police car when they stopped Howell for driving with a broken windshield in Westbury.
During the encounter, which was captured on surveillance cameras from a nearby business, the two officers are seen speaking with Howell briefly before LoGiudice walks behind the car and then runs back to the passenger-side door. The officers, who are white, then appear to begin punching and kicking Howell inside the car. Howell, who is black, claimed the encounter was racially motivated.
The officers arrested Howell at the scene on assault, resisting arrest and drug charges. They claimed in court papers that there was a "violent struggle" when Howell tried to swallow a bag of marijuana.
Howell initially denied those allegations at a news conference last year, but later told prosecutors that he had lied and was trying to toss the drugs when the officers beat him. The charges against him were dropped.
Prosecutors later presented the case to a grand jury and indicted LoGiudice on assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
His attorney, William Petrillo, said Thursday that "credible evidence will show that the use of force was necessary, reasonable and justified under any standard."
Gomez was never charged.
In the lawsuit, Howell claims the officers left him for more than 40 minutes without medical attention. His attorneys said the officers "intentionally used physical force" by punching, kneeing, kicking, slamming and shoving him.
The lawsuit also alleges that Nassau County failed to properly train the officers about the use of appropriate physical force.
The president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokesman for Nassau County and the police department both declined to comment on the suit. The police spokesman did not immediately comment on the status of an internal affairs investigation.