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Trial for Nassau cop accused of assaulting motorist during traffic stop scheduled to start next month

Nassau Police Officer Vincent LoGiudice appears for a

Nassau Police Officer Vincent LoGiudice appears for a court conference in Mineola on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The trial of a Nassau County police officer who's accused of assaulting a motorist at a Westbury traffic stop is scheduled to start Oct. 7.

Vincent LoGiudice, 35, previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault, including two felonies. He was in a Mineola court Friday for a conference.

Prosecutors say in April 2014 he beat Kyle Howell, now 21, of Westbury, causing injuries that included facial fractures.

It hasn't been decided yet whether a jury will hear the case or just a judge.

A store's surveillance camera recorded the traffic stop, and prosecutors began investigating allegations of police misconduct after Howell's family retrieved the footage.

The defense has said LoGiudice, who's been a Nassau officer since 2007, used force that was necessary, reasonable and justified.

He and another officer, Basil Gomez, arrested Howell at the traffic stop, alleging that he violently resisted arrest when they tried to retrieve evidence as he tried to eat a bag of marijuana.

Publicly, Howell denied having drugs or fighting police, but later told prosecutors he had marijuana during the 2014 car stop but had been worried about having it because he was on probation.

Police had originally charged Howell with offenses including assaulting the officers, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence, but a judge later dropped the charges after a request from prosecutors.

Howell has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county and the two officers.

The Westbury man is currently facing prosecution in Manhattan after a May arrest in which the NYPD accused him of offenses including resisting arrest and possessing stolen property.

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