MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man described to a judge Wednesday how he was punched, kicked and hit with a flashlight during a traffic stop last year.
Kyle Howell, 21, testified at the assault trial of Nassau County police Officer Vincent LoGiudice, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
Those attending the trial also watched surveillance video of the incident.
Howell, who was struck 18 times, said he was pulled over in Westbury in April 2014 for a cracked windshield. During the stop, when the officers were near their cruiser, he leaned over, took a bag of marijuana out of the glove compartment and tried to open it to dump it out onto the street. That is when, he said, LoGiudice began punching and kneeing him.
Howell said he only recalls three of the 18 times he was hit.
LoGiudice pleaded not guilty in June to three assault counts.
William Petrillo, the officer’s attorney, says that the suspect was perceived as a threat to the officer because of prior encounters with him. The defense said it 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.
Howell suffered a broken nose and eye socket in the incident.
He was arrested 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.
The officer faces a maximum of seven years in prison.