Sources: Nassau cop to face criminal charges in alleged videotaped beating case
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A Nassau police officer accused by a Westbury man of beating him during an April traffic stop recorded on video is expected to be criminally charged Tuesday, sources told Newsday Monday.
The expected unsealing of the grand jury indictment against Officer Vincent LoGiudice comes just weeks after a judge -- at the request of the Nassau district attorney's office -- dismissed criminal charges against Kyle Howell, 20. He had been charged with offenses including assaulting LoGiudice and his partner, Officer Basil Gomez, tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a controlled substance, based on police accounts in court records.
Gomez, who also appears on the videotape, is not named in the indictment, sources said.
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LoGiudice is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Nassau County Court, sources close to the case said.
Spokesmen from the police department and Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office declined to comment Monday.
Police Benevolent Association president James Carver, who has staunchly defended both officers, said Monday he was "anticipating" an indictment based on conversations he's had with unidentified officials, but said he could not confirm when it would be unsealed.
Carver sent an email to rank-and-file officers asking them to show up at the courthouse this morning "to show Vinny our FULL SUPPORT during the most difficult time that any police officer can face -- Being arrested for taking action while making a lawful arrest . . . while the charges against the defendant are dropped!"
Attorney William Petrillo, who represents LoGiudice, declined to comment Monday.
Steven Gaitman, an attorney for Howell, said his client was hopeful that an indictment would be unsealed Tuesday and would include a felony assault charge.
"He testified in the grand jury as a victim and will cooperate with the district attorney's office to ensure the officer or officers are convicted," Gaitman said Monday.
Howell's lawyer Amy Marion said of the grand jury proceedings: "We're just looking forward to finding out what the result was. We're just hopeful that justice got served in the right way."
Prosecutors launched a probe after seeing the video -- which was captured by a store's outside surveillance camera -- and police internal affairs investigators separately looked into the officers' actions. Both LoGiudice, who joined the force in 2007, and Gomez, who started in 2005, are on modified duty, police have said.
Howell's attorneys have said the incident left him with a broken nose, fractures near both eyes, facial nerve damage and emotional scars.
Last month, Marion filed a notice of claim with the county -- a precursor to a lawsuit -- saying Howell was the victim of false arrest and excessive police force and was deprived of his civil rights.
Police alleged in criminal complaints that Howell kicked and punched the officers after they tried to retrieve marijuana he had put in his mouth. Howell denies fighting with police or having drugs.