MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Criminal charges have been dropped against a man who claims he was beaten by two Nassau County Police officers during an arrest following a routine traffic stop last month.
Kyle Howell, 20, of Westbury, was arrested on charges that included tampering with physical evidence, marijuana possession and resisting arrest following an encounter with the officers on April 25.
Police have said Howell initiated the violence by kicking at the officers when they allegedly tried to stop him from eating marijuana he had in his possession.
Howell, who suffered facial fractures in the incident, denies that claim and said 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 earlier this month.
Some of the incident was caught on surveillance video from a nearby business.
Acting state Supreme Court Justice Alan Honorof decided Monday to drop the charges after reviewing the video and ordered the criminal record against Howell sealed.
“I am very grateful that I have the video to prove my innocence,” Howell told reporters, including CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
‘Without the video we would have no voice. If there was no video, we would not be here today,” added Joan Howell, Kyle’s mother.
Kyle Howell left court grateful that charges were dismissed, but his facial injuries were still evident, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“He has surgery scheduled for next week, still having therapy. It is a nightmare for the family,” said Donovan Howell, Kyle’s father.
“I’m still in a lot of pain. I wake up and it’s just not the same,” Kyle Howell added.
Kyle Howell, who pleaded guilty to petit larceny and marijuana possession in 2012, plans to sue the Nassau County Police Department, claiming he was targeted and harassed. His lawyers are calling for criminal charges against the arresting officers.
“This is the first half of justice,” attorney Amy Marion told reporters. “Justice will be completed when the officers who brutally attacked Kyle Howell as well have to now answer for charges that hopefully will be brought.”
“I want to go forward in prosecution against the police department,” Howell said, adding when asked what an acceptable outcome would be, “that they get charged accordingly.”
Both officers are on modified duty pending an Internal Affairs probe.
James Carver, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, said Howell belongs behind bars.
“You released the wrong guy today and you’re making the wrong target of the police officers,” Carver said. “In the end, these police officers will be exonerated.
“This was done without ever speaking to my police officers to find out their side to the story,” Carver added.
Nassau County Police have not commented, citing pending litigation.
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