Judge drops charges in alleged Long Island police brutality

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NJ Burkett reports on the case of a 20-year-old man whose brutal beating by police was caught on camera. The man now wants the police to "face justice." (WABC)

A Nassau County judge on Monday dismissed criminal charges against the man who says police beat him at a traffic stop.

The incident with 20-year-old Kyle Howell was caught on surveillance video, which will be the basis of a notice of claim against the county.

Howell, of Westbury, said he was grateful to the Nassau County district attorney's office for dropping charges, but he and his attorneys said they now want the arresting officers prosecuted.

"We are very very pleased with the outcome," Howell's attorney, Amy Marion, said. "This is the first part of this story and this prosecution...We are now asking for the prosecution of the police officers who attacked Kyle Howell."

A spokesman for the Nassau County police department declined to comment Monday, citing an ongoing internal affairs investigation. The district attorney's office said it dropped the charges based on its own investigation, which a spokesman said is continuing.

The video shows the traffic stop escalating into what police say was a struggle inside the car belonging to Howell, who was now charged with marijuana possession, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.

James Carver, the head of the police union, blasted District Attorney Kathleen Rice for the decision clearing Howell. Carver has previously said the officers were attempting to restrain a suspect who had refused to comply with their orders.

"This was done without ever speaking to my police officers to find out their side of the story," he said at a press conference later Monday. "It's apparent that they're on a mission just to prosecute these two police officers."

Howell, who was arrested on April 25, had surgery to repair an injured eye he suffered at the hands of the officers.

Police allege in court documents they were trying to stop Howell from swallowing a bag of marijuana. Howell has claimed he was reaching for his paycheck as it started to fly out an open door when the officers restrained him.

"There was no mercy shown as they broke the bones in his face," Howell's mother said. "We live of fear of those who are sworn to protect him."

Acting state Supreme Court Judge Alan Honorof ordered the criminal record against Howell sealed after agreeing to the prosecution request to drop the charges.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Howell's mother, Joan. "We just want to see these cops indicted."

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