News 12/Newsday report: Baldwin man claims police brutality

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A 72-year-old Baldwin resident arrested by police in February claims surveillance video exonerates him and may prove Nassau police officers falsified their report.

Robert Besedin, an Air Force veteran and mechanic, says he has never been in trouble with the law and has always respected police officers. On the night of Feb. 7, police say they sent two officers to his home after Besedin called 911 18 times in five hours. 

Besedin insists that those calls were "butt dials" made by accident. 

The Baldwin man and his attorney, Fred Brewington, showed News 12 video from a surveillance camera mounted to a window on the front of the house. It appears to show officers Stephen Beckwith and John Montavani talking to Besedin on his porch for about 10 minutes. At several points, Officer Beckwith appears to laugh and smile. Then Montavani puts on gloves and gets closer to Besiden. Suddenly, the two officers grab him and push him down his front steps. 

"They threw me down, my feet left the ground, and down I went head-first," Besedin tells News 12

"They creep up on him as if stalking prey. They take him by his neck. They throw him down a full flight of steps," says Brewington. 

Besiden had cuts to his elbow and wrists and gashes on his left and right hip area. He was treated for post-concussion syndrome at Nassau University Medical Center. 

The felony complaint says Besedin was arrested after he slapped the hand of one of the officers. Besedin denies that, saying he was only talking with his hands. He was charged with harassment, resisting arrest and felony assault.  Brewington says the video proves that officers falsified their report. 

According to the complaint, when Besiden was asked to put his hands behind his back, he "flailed his arms," "kicked," "screamed," and "pushed Officer Mantovani down the stairs."

Brewington says the video shows nothing like that happened. He says not only did the officers use excessive force, they also lied about it. 

"The way he was treated by these officers is not a shame, it is criminal," he says. 

Brewington says he asked the Nassau District Attorney's Office to dismiss the charges against his client. The DA's office says it is reviewing the matter. 

A Nassau police spokesperson says Besedin was arrested on Feb. 7 but didn't initiate any type of complaint until two months later. They also say the case is under investigation with the internal affairs unit.
 

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