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Glen Cove man who sued police arrested on drug charges, officials say

Leo Duchnowski, 24, of Glen Cove, at his

Leo Duchnowski, 24, of Glen Cove, at his lawyers' office in Huntington on Aug. 13, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

A Glen Cove man suing the Nassau County Police Department for $30 million over allegations he was shot and beaten by cops during a 2013 traffic stop has been arrested on felony drug charges, police said.

Leo Duchnowski, 24, of Eldridge Place, where the home invasion occurred, surrendered to Glen Cove police on drug possession charges Monday -- six days after his 22-year-old brother was shot in the chest by two assailants during a home invasion, police said.

Duchnowski was arraigned Tuesday on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of marijuana, records show. His bail was set at $100,000 cash or bond.

Duchnowski's attorney, Christopher J. Cassar of Huntington, said Wednesday the new charges against his client were retribution for the litigation.

"There was a home invasion. The brother was there; Leo was not," Cassar said. "However, they did do an investigation. I guess they got a search warrant, and they found drugs in a safe, and the police are now claiming that those drugs are Leo's. He denies that."

The attorney added, "The police are targeting him as a result of this $30 million lawsuit."

Cassar said Duchnowski's brother is in stable condition.

A Glen Cove police spokesman declined Wednesday to provide any details on Duchnowski's arrest or say whether any arrests had been made in the shooting and home invasion. Nassau police also declined to comment.

According to a felony complaint, in a "tall black safe . . . recovered from his [Duchnowski's] bedroom closet, Glen Cove police found 92 grams of concentrated cannabis, 2.9 pounds of marijuana and 809 Alprazolam pills, which treat anxiety and panic disorders."

Duchnowski filed suit against Nassau police and six of its officers on Aug. 11, claiming officers from the Bureau of Special Operations and the Criminal Intelligence Rapid Response Team used "unnecessary, unreasonable, excessive and deadly force" during the Bayville traffic.

Nassau police have declined to comment on the lawsuit, but at the time of the incident said Duchnowski rammed his car at them and struck one of the officers, and the officer fired his weapon because he feared for his life.

Duchnowski was on parole on drug-related charges during the 2013 traffic stop and on Dec. 17, 2014, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sales of a controlled substance -- hydrocodone -- and second-degree reckless endangerment and served 12 months in jail in connection with the incident.

James Carver, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, said Wednesday of Duchnowski's latest arrest: "We don't comment on pending litigation but I think the arrest of him with the drugs speaks volumes to what his credibility is."

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