MINEOLA, Long Island (PIX11) — For weeks, the first four minutes of surveillance video showing two plainclothes cops beating up a local motorist have been shown repeatedly on local media.
That video file, however, is more than 35 minutes long, and now, PIX11 News has obtained a copy of the entire file. What it shows happening after the beating could be damning for the Nassau County Police Department, whose officers were implicated in the incident.
The video that’s been widely seen since the April 25th incident centers on a 40 second clip showing the officers beating, kicking and hitting unarmed motorist Kyle Howell, 20, repeatedly. The pummeling is so severe that it resulted in three counts of assault against one of the officers, Vinnie LoGiudice, 34.
Beyond the beating, a look at the entire, newly released surveillance video reveals other potential injustices against the driver, who was pulled over for a traffic infraction, and whose charges have all been dropped.
“They lied. They lied,” said Amy Marion, attorney for Howell, regarding the two officers’ stated reasons for using physical force against her client.
“They said that they were injured and they suffered felony level assault” during the traffic stop in Westbury, “and clearly they [were] not,” Marion said.
The video gives a good indication of the officers’ injuries, if they had any. The two officers had claimed they’d been injured badly enough in the incident to take weeks of medical leave afterward. But about a third of the way into the 35 minute video, an ambulance shows up on scene.
An EMT gets out and consults with the officers. They do not appear to take any treatment. Then, the medic tries to inquire about Howell, who, by this point in the video, the two officers have placed into their unmarked SUV. There’s no sign that Howell is checked on by the EMT, even though his injuries resulted in a list of problems that Howell spelled out a few weeks ago.
“I have nerve damage on the left side of my face,” he said in an interview. “I have a broken cheekbone. My nose is fractured as well.”
The video file, according to Marion, Howell’s lawyer, regarding the officers’ action after the beating, shows a further violation of his constitutional rights. “They not only violated the penal law, they not only violated Nassau County police procedure,” Marion said, “they then try to cover it up.”
She was referring to how, after the officers are seen on screen putting Howell under arrest, they spend at least 24 minutes going through his car in great detail.
The first two minutes of that activity, which is apparently a preliminary search, are not in violation of code, according to the law enforcement consultant to PIX11 News, Wally Zeins. After those first two minutes, however, procedure with which he is very familiar, is very clear.
“You can’t start lifting the seats and going in the trunk,” said the retired NYPD detective supervisor. “You have to have a warrant.”
Contrary to that requirement that most New York police departments abide by, in the video, the officers open the trunk, and spend at least 22 more minutes in and around Howell’s sedan.
“They continue to search the car for an extended period of time,” Marion told PIX11 News, “as if they’re trying to find something to justify the beating.”
The acting commissioner of police provided a measured reaction to the newly available video. He said that his department’s internal affairs division was investigating this case thoroughly, and added, “I believe the indictment [against LoGiudice] speaks for itself. Beyond that, we are not going to comment at this time.”
LoGiudice has been suspended without pay. His duty partner, who is seen with him in the video, was not named in the indictment.