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Long Beach police commissioner faces no charges over traffic stop

Acting Long Beach City Manager Michael Tangney is

Acting Long Beach City Manager Michael Tangney is pictured during an induction ceremony and meeting of the Long Beach City Council Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Nassau County district attorney’s office has determined not enough evidence existed to bring a criminal case against Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney over allegations he punched a driver during a traffic stop last year.

Tangney, who also serves as the city’s acting city manager, will not be prosecuted for the Dec. 19 incident when he pulled over Kevin Holian, 64, of Syosset, who he said ran through a stop sign on West Beech Street at Edwards Boulevard, the district attorney’s office said.

Holian had accused Tangney of punching him in the face when he reached to retrieve his registration from the glove compartment, causing his nose to bleed. Tangney called for another officer to issue a ticket for the traffic violation.

Holian filed a complaint with Nassau County police in Syosset. The police referred to the case to the county district attorney’s office, where it has been under investigation for the past three months.

Assistant District Attorney Christine M. Maloney, the chief of the Public Corruption Bureau, issued letters Friday to Holian, his Syosset-based attorney Charo Ezdrin and Long Beach Corporation Counsel Rob Agostisi that the case was closed without any charges being filed.

“This office has determined that the evidence does not warrant a criminal prosecution of any member of the Long Beach Police Department,” Maloney said in a letter to Holian and provided to the city.

District attorney officials said in the letter that any possible traffic violations from the incident would be referred to the Long Beach Police Department and the city corporation counsel.

Tangney has denied striking Holian and has said he would be cleared of any charges. City officials declined to comment.

Holian’s attorney said her office is conducting its own investigation, but added she wasn’t surprised Tangney won’t face charges.

“I’m not shocked,” Ezdrin said. “As far as the evidential value, there’s no reason the police commissioner should be pulling anyone over.”

Ezdrin said her office is planning to file a lawsuit against Tangney and the City of Long Beach, and filed a claim for damages against the city last week.

The claim states Holian was falsely charged with a traffic violation, incurring attorney fees. “The stop, imprisonment and physical contact were all without just cause, provocation, unprivileged and without his consent,” the claim continues.

“The City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Police Department were negligent in investigating, hiring, and retaining a person who was unfit to serve as a patrol officer and should have known had dangerous propensities and lack of proper temperament,” the claim states.

Holian is also seeking a change of venue for his traffic ticket to be heard, arguing it could not be fairly tried by Long Beach officials.

A Nassau County judge is expected to rule on that motion by March 26.

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