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Judge to rule soon on charges against Salvadoran man in alleged police brutality case

A photo of Willian Guillen provided by his

A photo of Willian Guillen provided by his attorney Karen Bobley, which shows her client's injuries after an arrest by Nassau police in March 2014. Credit: Karen Bobley

A Nassau judge is expected to rule Monday on whether to dismiss criminal charges against a Salvadoran man in a case involving police brutality allegations.

Attorneys for Willian Guillen, 33, of Hicksville, say charges against him from a March arrest in Westbury -- charges that already were reduced -- should be dropped for reasons including it would be "in the interest of justice." Guillen faces misdemeanor charges of assault, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, along with a harassment violation.

The Nassau district attorney's office recently agreed to dismiss the obstruction charge but argued against other dismissals, saying: "There is no injustice in prosecuting a defendant who assaulted a police officer in front of three other officers and then gave a statement admitting to biting the officer."

Guillen's lawyers claim police beat him and caused injuries, including broken ribs, after his arrest near a restaurant. They said Guillen, who was with a friend, had just ordered food and was heading to a nearby store to buy soup as he waited for his order.

Police said an officer saw Guillen in what looked like a hand-to-hand drug deal. Guillen dropped what looked like a baggie of cocaine when he ran from police before violently resisting arrest, according to complaints. Police said they couldn't find the baggie because of traffic.

Guillen's lawyer, Karen Bobley, claims police beat him even after he was handcuffed. She said Guillen, who crossed illegally into the United States and speaks little English, thought he was going to be robbed and didn't know it was police pursuing him.

But police records also show Guillen told a detective who was asked to translate: "I'm sorry I bit the cop but I was afraid to get arrested and get deported."

A Nassau police spokesman said an internal affairs probe was ongoing. The Nassau district attorney's office previously confirmed a police official admitted hitting Guillen but hasn't said if it was part of the force needed to subdue Guillen as he allegedly resisted arrest.

A court record has since identified that official as Sgt. Richard Soto, saying he "acknowledged that after he was bitten by the defendant, he hit the defendant." Soto said in a deposition that as he tried to help an officer handcuff Guillen, Guillen bit his left thigh, causing pain and bleeding.

"Using physical force I was then able to free Guillen's hand and an assisting officer was able to place him under arrest," he said.

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