On April 25, police pulled over Kyle Howell, 20, from Westbury, for the flimsy pretext of having a broken windshield. In the video, two officers can be seen approaching his vehicle and boxing it in from both sides.
“My paycheck started to fly out the door,” Howell stated at a press conference. “I went to go reach for it, and the next thing you know, I got a knee to the face. Then the next thing I remember, I was in the hospital…You can see the damage that happened.”
According to WABC, police had it in for Howell and had pulled him over multiple times in the weeks prior to the beating.
Howell says the same police had threatened him with a pummeling during a previous traffic stop for recording them. “The next time you record me I will use physical force to stop you,” Howell says an officer had threatened.
He proceeded, however, to film his next encounter, and the cops followed through with their threat.
Police charged Howell with resisting arrest, assaulting police officers and tampering with evidence, according to Newsday, claiming he attempted to eat a bag of marijuana and that he was also in possession of a bag that tested positive for cocaine residue. Howell says the charges are fabricated; he didn’t fight back, had no drugs and was only chewing gum. Oddly enough, he was not charged with possession of a controlled substance.
After posting bail, Howell and his father retrieved surveillance footage of his beating from a nearby business. “Prosecutors launched a probe after seeing the video, and police internal affairs investigators also are looking into the officers’ actions,” reports Newsday.
At a press conference, Howell was asked to remove his sunglasses, revealing the extent of his eye injuries, which he says will require surgery to remedy.
Howell appeared at a presser on Tuesday with bloody eyes he says he will need surgery to repair. “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.”
“Has change really come to America? If there were no video, he would have no voice,” she added.
Howell had two arrests in 2012, one for marijuana possession, and the other for petit larceny, a misdemeanor. On Monday, he filed a notice of claim against Nassau County claiming false arrest, excessive police force, and a deprivation of his civil rights. He included employees at Nassau University Medical Center as well, saying they aided in the coverup of illegal police actions.
Newsday reports the officers in question both earn more than $145,000 a year, and that at least one officer, Basil Gomez, was probed by internal affairs in 2008 for use of excessive force, however the outcome of that investigation was not made public.
Both officers have been re-assigned and placed on “modified duty,” where they will have no contact with the public, pending the outcome of the investigation.