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Long IslandCrime

Man who accuses Long Beach police chief seeks change of venue

A cellphone photo taken by driver Kevin Holian

A cellphone photo taken by driver Kevin Holian of Syosset allegedly shows Long Beach City Police Commissioner Michael Tangney outside his vehicle before driving away on Dec. 19, 2017. Credit: Kevin Holian

A Syosset man who said he was punched by the Long Beach police commissioner during a traffic stop is arguing he can’t receive a fair trial in Long Beach to hear his traffic infraction.

Kevin Holian, 64, is set to appear Friday in Hempstead District Court to request a change of venue to have his ticket for running a stop sign moved out of Long Beach City Court.

The Nassau County district attorney’s office is investigating the Dec. 19, 2017, traffic stop where Holian said Tangney punched him in the face after Tangney pulled him over for running through a stop sign.

Tangney has denied he punched Holian, and Holian’s attorney denied her client ran through the stop sign. Long Beach and district attorney’s office officials declined to comment about the investigation.

Tangney said he would be cleared by two eyewitnesses at the scene and asked Holian be prosecuted for filing a false statement.

In court documents, Holian argued that the combination of the complaint against Tangney, the close-knit city government and publicity of the case would prevent him from receiving a fair trial on his stop sign ticket.

“I will not be able to receive a fair trial in the City Court of the City of Long Beach due to the fact that the charging witness in the traffic violation is the police commissioner and acting city manager, against whom I have placed charges of assault, abuse of power and intimidations for his actions during the incident which resulted in my being issued this traffic violation,” Holian’s motion states.

The case was heard in Nassau County court in Mineola Wednesday, where it was deferred to the district court in Hempstead.

Tangney was driving an unmarked silver Lexus when he pulled Holian over with flashing lights. He said he showed his ID, but never reached in the vehicle.

Holian said Tangney punched him as he reached into the vehicle, causing him to bleed. Tangney left and another officer wrote the citation.

In Long Beach City Court, the case would be tried under the city’s corporation counsel before a city judge.

Holian and his Syosset-based attorney Charo Ezdrin also cited news articles about the case, after Ezdrin held a news conference and handed out copies of the ticket covered with blood droplets.

“Long Beach is a small, tightknit community. Its geography makes it a very localized community,” Holian wrote. “All of the people assessing the police commissioner’s credibility will be unfairly biased in his favor.”

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