WOODBURY - The Nassau PBA called Tuesday’s rally for Officer Vincent LoGiudice a show of support and solidarity for a fellow officer. But critics say it's a clear case of bullying and intimidation.
Officers and supporters flooded the Mineola courthouse and held a rally outside for the officer charged with felony assault in the beating of Kyle Howell, of Westbury. The alleged assault was captured on a surveillance camera.
As News 12 Long Island has reported, 20-year-old Kyle Howell was originally arrested for allegedly assaulting two officers during a traffic stop in April. Police have said Howell made a movement toward the passenger side of his vehicle and tried to ingest a bag of marijuana. Those charges against Howell were dropped and a grand jury chose to indict Officer LoGiudice on assault charges.
Corey Pegues, of the Law Enforcement Alliance, told News 12 that the chanting and cheering for Officer LoGiudice was not called for.
“There shouldn't have been any yelling, screaming or cheering,” said Pegues. “This guy was just arraigned for an assault charge.”
Howell’s attorney Amy Marion called the support presence at the courthouse “a mob mentality” and “intimidating on all levels.”
“If this was a group that large of people from the NAACP, I can guarantee you that that would have been shut down in a second,” Marion told News 12.
PBA president James Carver, who led chants of “Vindicate Vinny” while standing on a chair, told News 12 by phone that every police officer who showed up to court was off duty and he claims they were not disruptive. He said that the police were not given any preferential treatment.
A court spokesman told News 12 that they were expecting a large group, but not as large as it grew to.
"We are evaluating and re-evaluating our procedures and protocols, so that equal access and safety remain our top priorities," the spokesperson said.
Calls to the Nassau Police Commissioner’s Office and the district attorney’s office were not returned.