MINEOLA - A Nassau police officer accused of beating a young man during a traffic stop was in court Tuesday.
Vincent LoGiudice previously pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges for allegedly beating 20-year-old Kyle Howell. The incident was caught on camera during a traffic stop in Westbury back in April.
The defense attorney at the hearing said Howell lied during his testimony, initially claiming he was reaching for a paycheck inside his car. He says Howell was actually reaching for a bag of marijuana.
Those claims angered Howell's attorney, who says the defense is just trying to change the focus of the trial.
“We have [LoGiudice’s] attorney coming into court and changing the dialogue away from the brutality. This is what goes on throughout this country,” said Amy Marion, Howell’s attorney.
The mood at Tuesday’s court hearing was different than LoGuidice's June arraignment, where hundreds of officers packed the courthouse to support of the accused officer. At one point during the arraignment, Nassau PBA president James Carver led chants while standing on a chair outside the courtroom. Critics called the police presence a clear case of bullying and intimidation.
Some community groups attended the hearing to show their support for Howell and his family. Howell's supporters say the incident is another example why Nassau police need a civilian complaint review board to add oversight to the department.
LoGiudice will be back in court in September.