WESTBURY - A Nassau County police officer accused of beating a Westbury man during a traffic stop has pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges.
Vincent LoGiudice appeared in court Tuesday morning after being charged with two counts of assault in the second degree and one count of assault in the third degree.
As News 12 Long Island has reported, 20-year-old Kyle Howell was originally arrested for allegedly assaulting the officers during the 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.
Surveillance video of the incident shows two officers repeatedly kicking and punching Kyle Howell, who officers claim was resisting arrest. The other officer, Basil Gomez, was not charged in the incident.
In a strong show of support, many Nassau County police officers surrounded LoGiudice as he entered the courtroom. A rally supporting him was held after he pleaded not guilty.
“He is absolutely overwhelmed with emotion with the overwhelming support, not only by the entire Nassau County Police Department, but police departments in the region,” said LoGiudice’s attorney William Petrillo.
Howell and his family were present in the courtroom during the arraignment.
“It just shows that all these people here are just supporting police brutality,” Howell told News 12.
Officer LoGiudice did not have to post bail. He was required to sign an order of protection, a standard procedure in assault cases.
The case is due back in court on July 2.