Police officer accused of beating Westbury man gives testimony
A Nassau police officer accused of beating up a Westbury man took the stand in his own defense Monday as his trial continued.
Vincent LoGiudice is accused of using excessive force against Kyle Howell during a traffic stop in April 2014. He allegedly punched and hit Howell 18 times, injuring Howell's eyes, jaw and nose.
Prosecutors say video proves that LoGiudice beat Howell, who was in the passenger seat of the car. LoGiudice pleaded not guilty, saying that Howell resisted arrest.
On the stand Monday, LoGiudice said that at some point during the arrest, he thought Howell was reaching for a weapon and did not listen to commands.
He said he initially stopped him for speeding, but started punching and kneeing him to get Howell under control after he resisted arrest.
LoGiudice said he "felt a rush a fear" and saw Howell's actions as being very dangerous and having a potential to hurt both him and his partner.
He also testified that he saw Howell trying to dispose a bag of marijuana by eating it.
Howell's mother says the incident was police brutality, and says the officers planted the marijuana on her son's lip.
LoGiudice will be back on the stand Tuesday, where he will continue to be cross-examined by the prosecution.