The New York City officer accused of sodomizing a drug suspect with a police baton took the stand in his own defense Thursday, calmly denying the abuse ever took place.
Officer Richard Kern also said that Michael Mineo had identification on him when he was stopped by police before the incident, testimony critical to the defense because Mineo's whole reason for running from police was that he did not have his New York State benefits card with him.
Kern has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and assault. Two other officers, Andrew Morales, who also testified Thursday, and Alex Cruz, have pleaded not guilty to hindering prosecution and official misconduct.
Mineo has said that he ran from police outside a Wendy's in Brooklyn because he was smoking a joint, didn't have identification and didn't want to get caught. He claims they chased him to a subway station, knocked him to the ground, handcuffed him, then a police baton was rammed into his behind four times. Mineo, bleeding and scared, was given a summons for disorderly conduct and was released, he said.
Kern offered his perspective on the case, with Mineo in the audience shaking his head, quietly sighing and mouthing "no."
Kern was calm and collected on the stand, unlike Mineo who was visibly agitated on the witness stand.
Kern testified that he took out the baton as he was running into a subway station to catch up with Mineo, who had taken off.
"I was the lead guy, chasing after him, I didn't know what I was getting into. It was just for my safety," said Kern, who is 26 and married with three small kids.
The arrest happened quickly, and Kern said he used the baton to hold down Mineo's legs because he was flailing, before putting it away and taking out his handcuffs.
Asked by his attorney, John Patton, if he placed the baton in Mineo's rectum, he replied: "No, I did not."