MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The assault trial of a Nassau County police officer accused of beating a man during a traffic stop began Tuesday.

Nassau County Officer Vincent LoGiudice has pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the April 2014 incident.

Assistant District Attorney Bernadette Ford said LoGiudice was captured on surveillance video using his fists, knee and flashlight to hit Kyle Howell at least 18 times during the traffic stop in Westbury.

The beating lasted one minute and 38 seconds, according to prosecutors.

The officer was not justified in using the extent of force in arresting Howell, Ford said.

William Petrillo, the officer’s attorney countered that the suspect was perceived as a threat to the officer because of prior encounters with him. The defense said this is not a case of police brutality, instead it was a life or death situation for the officer and the use of force was justified, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

“Unfortunately when you watch that video, you cant see what he saw. you cant be thinking what the evidence will show he was thinking,” Petrillo told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

The incident was recorded by a store’s outside surveillance camera.

Police have said Howell, who was on probation at the time of the incident, initiated the violence by kicking at LoGiudice and another officer when they allegedly tried to stop him from eating marijuana he had in his possession.

Howell, who suffered a broken nose and eye socket, denies that claim and said the beating was unprovoked.

Kyle Howell, 20, of Westbury, plans to sue the Nassau County Police Department for what he claims was an unprovoked beating (credit: Handout)

Kyle Howell, 20, of Westbury, plans to sue the Nassau County Police Department for what he claims was an unprovoked beating (credit: Handout)

His mother, who was in the courtroom, said the incident has affected the whole family.

“It’s something that you cannot forget. The emotional scars will never ever go away,” Joan Howell said. “His life has changed in many ways — job lost through the situation, emotional stress — the list can go on and on.”

Howells parents believe their son is another victim of racial profiling.

“As you all know, the many instances that have happened around the country and those cases are a lot more severe than ours,” Joan Howell said. “We are thankful to God that Kyle survived it.”

Police arrested Howell on assault, resisting arrest and drug charges after he allegedly refused to comply with instructions to provide identification. Those charges were later dropped.

LoGiudice has waived his right to a jury trial, and a judge will decide whether or not he’s guilty of police brutality, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

The officer faces a maximum of seven years in prison.

Kyle Howell is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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