Cop charged for beating man he claims was eating pot to destroy evidence


As Nassau County police officer Vincent LoGiudice entered the Mineola courtroom in Long Island yesterday, a hallway full of his fellow police officers erupted in a cacophony of applause in support of their colleague.
What did Officer LoGiudice do to earn such powerful show of backing and apparent respect from his co-workers? Well, on April 25th, during a routine traffic stop, officer LoGiudice brutally beat 20-year-old Kyle Howell within an inch of his life, using vicious blows from his knees and police baton to leave the victim with broken bones and a future full of surgeries.

Howell says that he was pulled over by the two plain-clothes cops driving an unmarked vehicle. They pointed out a crack in his windshield. After a brief discussion, Howell says he tried to take a cell phone video of the officer’s harassment, at which point they became enraged and proceeded to force entry into Howell’s car, opening both the passenger and driver side doors. Here the two sides of the story take very different turns.
When the officers opened his doors, Howell claims that his paycheck flew out of the door. He says he innocently lunged to grab it, at which point he got his face smashed by a perfectly timed knee thrust by LoGiudice.
According to Howell, he remembers nothing after that initial blow until he woke up later in the hospital. There he was treated for several fractured facial bones which impaired his vision and required extensive surgery to repair.
Howell describes the April 25th incident, saying, “They came out of the car, I gave them my information, they opened up the door and my paycheck started to fly out the door. I went to go reach and the next thing you know, I got a knee to the face. And then the next thing I remember, I was in the hospital.”
The officers on the scene tell a different story. They say they had to act fast because, according to them, Howell was trying to eat a handful of marijuana in an attempt to eliminate it as possible evidence. It may sound like a scene right out of Super Troopers, but nobody got their skull caved in during that movie.
Despite a broken nose and a face swollen beyond recognition, they charged Howell with assault, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, and marijuana possession.
After surveillance video surfaced from a local corner store showing the sheer brutality that the officers used on the victim, all charges were dropped against the 20-year-old.
Yesterday, Officer Vincent LoGiudice stepped into court riding a wave of support from his fellow officers, to face three federal charges of assault of his own, all stemming from Howell’s beating. If convicted of the top charge on the list, LoGiudice could face up to 7 years in prison.
Howell was joined in court by his parents and his pastor, wearing a bright bandage across the bridge of his nose from a recent surgery. Regarding the ill-timed applause from the hallway, he called the law enforcement officers in attendance “despicable”, saying “all these people here support police brutality”.
Howell states that in the past year alone, he has been stopped and frisked by police officers no less than a dozen times. His claims fall right in line with a long line of studies that show that Blacks and Latinos are arrested for pot possession in far greater numbers than white Americans. As we reported here just yesterday, 85% of those arrested for weed this year by the NYPD will be Black or Latino – many of them after a stop and frisk spurred by nothing more than the color of their skin.
Officer LoGiuduce, 34, is a seven-year veteran of the police force. He was released under his own recognizance during the trial, and is currently suspended without pay. A police spokesperson refused to comment on the case.