Kyle Howell's charges dismissed by judge in alleged police beating in Nassau

A judge dismissed criminal charges against beating victim Kyle Howell on May 19, 2014. Howell was charged after an incident with two Nassau County in April that was caught on store security video. Howell was badly injured, but police had accused him of kicking and punching them as they tried to retrieve marijuana he had put in his mouth. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

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A judge dismissed criminal charges Monday against a Westbury man who alleged two Nassau police officers beat him during a traffic stop that a store security camera caught on video.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Alan Honorof made the decision in Kyle Howell's case after a request from the district attorney's office.

Police had charged Howell, 20, with offenses including assaulting the officers, tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the April 25 arrest.

Howell said Monday he'll cooperate with prosecutors' ongoing investigation into the officers' conduct that evening.

"I want to go forward on prosecution against the police department," Howell said in a Mineola court, also adding: "I'm very grateful that I had the video to help me prove my innocence."

Howell's legal team previously filed a notice of claim against the county and police alleging he was the victim of false arrest and excessive police force. He suffered a broken nose, fractures near both eyes and facial nerve damage. One of Howell's lawyers, Steven Gaitman, called Monday an emotionally healing day for Howell as his physical pain continues. Another Howell attorney, Amy Marion, said justice won't be complete until "officers who brutally attacked" him "have to now answer for charges that hopefully will be brought against them."

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Prosecutors launched a probe after seeing the video, and police internal affairs investigators are separately looking into the actions of officers Vincent LoGiudice and Basil Gomez.

But Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said Monday that the district attorney's office hasn't tried to speak to the two officers. "It's apparent that they're on a mission just to prosecute these two police officers," he said.

Carver said the officers, whom the department put on modified duty, have been on sick leave because of injuries from the incident and have made more than 500 arrests in the past several years.

He previously said Howell ignored police requests to show his hands and reached under his car seat as if grabbing for a weapon. Police said in criminal complaints that Howell kicked and punched the officers after they tried to retrieve marijuana he put in his mouth. Howell denies fighting police or having drugs.

The dismissal came after Honorof said last week he would review the video. District attorney's office spokesman Shams Tarek said the request to dismiss charges was based on an investigation of the case that is ongoing. A police spokesman said he couldn't comment on the case Monday because of an internal probe that's also continuing. But LoGiudice's attorney, William Petrillo, said the video "does not provide the full picture of what transpired inside that car."

"The decision to dismiss this case without any objective investigation is unfortunate," he said.

Gomez's attorney, Joseph Gentile, said there's "more to learn about the circumstances that went on there."

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