WILLISTON PARK - Dozens of protesters rallied in Williston Park Saturday after a Nassau police officer was found not guilty of beating a driver during a traffic stop.
As News 12 has reported, Officer Vincent LoGiudice was accused of repeatedly punching and hitting Kyle Howell, of Westbury. The incident was caught on camera during a traffic stop in Westbury back in April 2014.
Lawyers for LoGiudice insisted the use of force was justified because Howell reached for the glove box and the officer feared for his life. Howell admitted that he threw himself across the console of the car to grab a bag of marijuana from the glove box because he didn't want to get arrested and violate probation.
A judge handed down the not-guilty verdict on Friday. Protesters rallied outside of Nassau's 3rd Precinct the following day to denounce what they say was LoGuidice's excessive force and to call for justice.
Howell's mother, Joan Howell, spoke at the rally. "This is a police brutality case," she said. "They put up a smoke screen. Ninety-five percent of that trial was about Kyle Howell and Kyle Howell's past."
The head of the Nassau PBA told News 12 that it was "clear from Howell's testimony that the officer's actions were justified."
The Howell family has filed a civil suit against the county. They are calling for the firing of the officers involved, as well as a new community oversight board to monitor the Nassau Police Department.