Thorough inquiry sought into alleged beating of Westbury motorist
Nassau elected officials and civil rights advocates Friday demanded a swift and thorough investigation into the alleged beating of 20-year-old Kyle Howell of Westbury by two county police officers during a traffic stop captured on a store video camera.
"There may have been excessive use of force, and something went badly on that day," county Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) said at a news conference at the corner in Westbury, which was the scene of the April 25 traffic stop.
Howell has said the incident left him with a broken nose, fractures near both eyes, facial nerve damage and emotional scars. His attorney has 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.
Nassau prosecutors and the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division are investigating the conduct of the officers, identified in records as Vincent Logiudice and Basil Gomez. They are on modified duty, and the police department has declined to comment.
"We cannot comment until the District Attorney and Internal Affairs Bureau complete their investigation," County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement.
Howell's mother, Joan, who attended the news conference with members of the Westbury branch of the NAACP, said she wants the two officers prosecuted.
However, Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) said, "We are not prejudging what occurred."
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.
Howell said police started beating him after taking a cellphone he was using to record them. Howell said one of the officers also had stopped him in January, and warned him then that he would use force if he tried to record him in the future.
Howell faces charges including assault, evidence tampering, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a controlled substance after authorities reported finding cocaine after searching his car.