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Charges dropped against NY man who alleges police brutality

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Criminal charges were dropped Monday morning against a Long Island man who claimed he was brutalized by two Nassau County police officers when they pulled him over and then arrested him last month in Westbury.

Twenty-year-old Kyle Howell walked out of court a free man Monday. He had been facing up to seven years in prison on charges that included felony assault, tampering with evidence, resisting arrest and drug possession after he was arrested April 25 at the intersection of Union Avenue and Covert Street in Westbury. “We are very, very pleased with the outcome,” Howell’s lawyer, Amy Marion, said. “We are now asking for the prosecution of the police officers who brutally attacked Kyle Howell.”

A surveillance video from a nearby business captured the traffic stop and appears to show the officers repeatedly punching and kicking Howell. In court papers filed after Howell’s arrest, police said a “violent struggle” began – with Howell punching and kicking at the cops – after he allegedly tried to swallow a bag of marijuana that was in the car. Howell has denied those allegations.

In court Monday, Assistant District Attorney Daniel Looney said prosecutors were moving to dismiss the charges “based on our investigation.” The district attorney’s office confirmed after the video surfaced that they had launched a probe of the incident. A spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the investigation was continuing.

The two officers, identified in records as Vincent Logiuduce and Basil Gomez, are currently under investigation by the police department’s internal affairs unit, officials have said. The Nassau County district attorney’s office is also conducting a probe into the incident. Nassau PBA President James Carver said at a press conference last Wednesday that both officers remain out of work because of “line of duty injuries.” He said the two cops – who he described as highly decorated officers – have received numerous awards in the past.

Howell has filed a notice of claim – a first step in a civil lawsuit against the county, police and a local hospital – alleging false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution in the case. A spokesman for Nassau County has said officials would comment after they finished their investigation. A spokeswoman for Nassau University Medical Center, which is also named in the legal papers, declined to comment on the lawsuit.