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Suit: Rockville Centre officer falsely accused man of trying to run him over

A Valley Stream man claims in a lawsuit

A Valley Stream man claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Officer Anthony Federico, shown here in February, pushed him off his motorcycle at gunpoint in August 2016 and accused him of trying to run the officer over. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Valley Stream man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was wrongfully assaulted, arrested and prosecuted in connection with a 2016 encounter with a Rockville Centre police officer who was acquitted of assault this year in a separate case.

Luis Nunez, 37, claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Officer Anthony Federico pushed him off his motorcycle at gunpoint on Sunrise Highway in August 2016 and falsely accused Nunez of trying to run him over.

Nunez was then falsely charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony, and other offenses — “all of which were total fabrications,” the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit demands more than $36 million and names as defendants Federico; the Village of Rockville Centre, its police department and other police personnel; and Nassau County, its police force and police personnel.

Hempstead attorney Frederick Brewington, who filed the complaint for Nunez, said Friday that Federico violated his client’s rights “with impunity” and needed to be held accountable.

But Rockville Centre police union president Jim Carty said Friday the plaintiff was “just trying to cash in because of Officer Federico’s notoriety.”

The Nassau district attorney's office prosecuted Federico on charges that included felony assault in a trial stemming from a May 2016 encounter outside a bar in which he was accused of clubbing a 25-year-old man in the head with a stun gun. In February, Federico won acquittal.

Nunez's lawsuit alleges a red light camera video from the scene contradicted Federico’s sworn statement in the case and showed “the blatant lack of any probable cause for wrongly stopping, detaining and arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning Mr. Nunez.”

The Nassau district attorney’s office dropped the charges against Nunez in August 2017, according to the lawsuit. But Brewington said the office — which is not named as a defendant because of prosecutorial immunity — had the video “for a time period that was extended and they still required this man to have those charges hanging over his head.”

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Madeline Singas declined to comment Friday.

Rockville Centre spokeswoman Julie Scully said Friday that Federico and other village officers named in Nunez’s complaint remain on active duty. She would not comment further “on pending litigation or on personnel matters.”

The lawsuit also claims Federico has a “bias against minorities” and that the defendants acted “to cover up” his “unjustifiable actions” regarding Nunez, who works as a painter. 

It also alleges in part that Nassau police were part of Nunez’s “unlawful detention” and didn’t take action to prevent Federico’s “unlawful behavior.”

A Nassau police spokesman said Friday the department could not comment due to pending litigation.

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