Veteran from Baldwin sues Nassau County over violent arrest

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BALDWIN -

An Air Force veteran from Baldwin has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Nassau County and two police officers after he says he was thrown down the steps outside his home. 

Home surveillance video of the incident last February shows 72-year-old Robert Besedin being grabbed by two police officers and apparently pushed down a flight of stairs. Besedin was arrested during the encounter for alleged assault and harassment.

Last week, the Nassau District Attorney's Office dismissed those charges. Besedin's attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit Wednesday claiming that "Nassau County and Nassau police are liable for the assault, battery, excessive force, false arrest and false imprisonment" of their client. 

"I had no idea what was going on. They never told me I was arrested. They never accused me of anything. They just came and threw me down the steps and handcuffed me," said Besedin. 

News 12 has reported that police sent two officers, John Montovani and Stephen Beckwith, to Besedin's home after they say he called 911 18 times in five hours. Besedin said Wednesday that he may have called police once that day to complain about his neighbors' garbage and that any calls after that "were accidental."

The initial court paperwork says that Besedin allegedly refused to put his hands behind his back for the officers, flailed his arms, kicked and pushed one of the officers down the stairs. That was not seen on the surveillance video.

Attorney Fred Brewington says the officers need to be held accountable. 

"The district attorney's office has refused to charge these officers. These officers lied and there is no question that they lied," says Brewington. 

It's unclear what, if any, disciplinary action has been taken against the officers. Nassau police told News 12 that they cannot comment due to pending litigation. There was also no comment from the district attorney's office.

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