GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man has announced plans to sue the Nassau County Police Department for what he claims was an unprovoked attack on him.
As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported Tuesday, much of the altercation was caught on video.
Kyle Howell, 20, of Westbury, claims two Nassau County cops viciously beat him during a routine traffic stop, breaking his nose and fracturing his face. According to CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan, Howell claims he tried to take cellphone video of the traffic stop, which infuriated the officers.
Some of the April 25 incident was caught on surveillance video from a nearby business, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“I remember getting a knee to my face and after that, I don’t really remember much. I was hit in the head so many times,” Howell said. “They were telling me to spit something out of my mouth.”
Watch Surveillance Video:
Howell claims the beating was unprovoked.
“They came out of the car, I gave them my information, they opened up the door and my paycheck started to fly out the door. I went to go reach and the next thing you know, I got a knee to the face. And then the next thing I remember, I was in the hospital,” he said.
Police, however, claim that it was Howell who initiated the violence by kicking at them when they allegedly tried to stop him from eating marijuana he had in his possession.
Howell denies that claim.
Court records show Howell was charged with assaulting the officers, tampering with physical evidence, marijuana possession and resisting arrest, among others.
“We’ve seen this video and have been investigating both the actions of the officers as well as the charges that the police filed against Mr. Howell,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Howell conceded he was arrested twice in 2012 and pleaded guilty to petty larceny and marijuana possession.
Howell’s parents said their son has been pulled over 12 times in the past year and a half for non-criminal, unlawful stops and searches. The latest was for a cracked windshield.
They allege racial profiling.
“What’s the basis of racial profiling? ‘It speaks for itself,’ as we say in the law,” plaintiff’s attorney Amy Marion said.
A few witnesses told McLogan they saw the April 25 traffic stop and concurred that minorities have been unfairly targeted around the area. However, the shop owner whose camera recorded the incident said it wasn’t clear what sparked the confrontation.
Howell said he tried to record the police pull-over for one reason
“It is my only protection I have against them,” he said. “I was scared.”
“If there was no video, he would have no voice,” added Joan Howell, Kyle’s mother.
Nassau police have put both officers on modified duty pending an Internal Affairs probe.
“We demand all criminal charges against my son be dropped, and these police officers be brought to justice,” said Donovan Howell, Kyle’s father.
The Nassau Medical Center is also being sued for allegedly protecting the officers and engaging in a coverup, McLogan reported.
Nassau County police have not commented, citing pending litigation.
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